The Power of a Nap

Do you remember the book Everything I need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? One of the things we did in kindergarten was to roll out our mat, get our blanket and close our eyes for a few minutes.

Whether we slept or not wasn’t important. What was important was the opportunity for a little quiet time to rest our eyes and our brain.

Once we hit first grade, naps are a thing of the past until we hit the other end of the age spectrum and fall asleep in the afternoon in front of our “stories.”

Naps are for babies and old people. 

Work less than you think you should. It took me a while to realise there was a point each day when my creativity ran out and I was just producing words – usually lousy ones – for their own sake. And nap: it helps to refresh the brain, at least mine. Amy Waldman 

Not true!

FitDay has this to say about taking an afternoon nap:

Taking a nap during the day can actually have good benefits for your health. Many people who regularly treat themselves to short naps claim they come with benefits. These can be benefits like more productivity, a lifting of the spirits and a sharpening of the senses. The advice of taking a nap that mothers sometimes give their children also reaps benefits for people in their adult lives. Proponents of taking a nap say that the afternoon is the best time of the day to do so. Taking a nap being good for your health is not just a matter of opinion: Scientific research is even beginning to substantiate the benefits of napping.

What are the benefits of napping? Here is what the Mayo Clinic says:

Napping offers various benefits for healthy adults, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes

So just how do you go about taking a nap? The Sleep Foundation has a few tips to share:

A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.

Your surroundings can greatly impact your ability to fall asleep. Make sure that you have a restful place to lie down and that the temperature in the room is comfortable. Try to limit the amount of noise heard and the extent of the light filtering in. While some studies have shown that just spending time in bed can be beneficial, it is better to try to catch some zzz’s.

If you take a nap too late in the day, it might affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. If you try to take it too early in the day, your body may not be ready for more sleep.

One final word on Napping from the Today Show. There has been an increase in companies recognizing the benefits of napping so much so that some companies are providing quiet spots, napping pods and approved nap times for their workers.

Huffington Post founder and president Arianna Huffington used to think that working 24-7 was the only way to be productive, but learned the hard way that a midday nap can make a big difference. Five years ago, she fainted from exhaustion, ending up with a broken cheekbone and stitches — and a newfound appreciation of how being sleep-deprived makes it harder to focus and function.

“Sleep makes us more productive, creative, less stressed and much healthier and happier,’’ Huffington told TODAY. “Even a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day can make a huge difference. I grew up thinking that if you work around the clock, you are going to be more effective, and I realize that is not true.’’

So whether you work for a company that supports the afternoon snooze or you work from home, try a little nap time on for size. On those days when your creativity and productivity seem to be lacking, you might just benefit from a short nap. And maybe even some milk and cookies!