Recharging Your Battery: The Benefits of Napping

It is estimated that over 60% of Americans are sleep deprived.  It’s no wonder.  Gone are the days of kindergarten naps or 20 winks between college classes.  Our culture in America means adults work a full day through and often times napping is associated with illness or laziness.

There are numerous studies which conclude that napping is beneficial to our overall health and productivity.  Some forward thinking companies have taken that fact to heart and created nap zones where employees can feel free to take a quick nap without recrimination.  Trading 20-30 minutes of time at a desk for several more hours of improved productivity may just be the best business choice they ever make.  Take a look at some of the famous folks who are noted for their napping habit:

  • John F. Kennedy            Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Thomas Edison              Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Johannes Brahms          Ronald Reagan             
  • Albert Einstein               Leonardo Da Vinci         
  • Winston Churchill           John D. Rockefeller       
  • Gene Autry                    Eleanor Roosevelt         
  • Bill Clinton                     Lance Armstrong          
  • Salvador Dali                 Sylvester Stallone
  • Johannes Brahms          Nicola Tesla

Among the benefits that you can expect to receive for your napping routine are less stress, improved memory, increased alertness, increased creativity, and less sleepiness.  Some studies show that you may even be more motivated to exercise.  At the very least you will avoid the midday slump and may make up for some tossing and turning from the previous night.  With heart disease at the top of the list of causes of death in the US, you will be glad to know that napping may also reduce that risk.  In countries where siestas are common, the levels of heart disease tend to be lower. 

So how do you get in a good cat nap or power nap?  Consider the following: 

  • Accept why you are doing it.  Napping will make you much more productive when you wake.
  • Avoid late afternoon naps.  Our natural rhythms make it more likely for you to fall into a very deep sleep during this time.  The result will be a foggy afternoon.  Shoot for late morning or just after lunch.
  • Avoid caffeine, sugars, and fats close to nap time.
  • Find a place conducive to napping.  Avoid distractions such as passersby and telephones.
  • Make it dark by finding a dark spot or wearing a sleep mask.
  • Your body temperature may drop even in a 20 minute power nap.  Have a blanket handy if necessary.
  • Set an alarm.

savour… ZZzzzzzzz