To Nap or Not to Nap. That is the Question.
Lazy. Unambitious. Childish. If you’re a fan of a good nap, you’ve probably been called one of these at some time in your life.
Wait, let’s start over.
We ALL are fans of a good nap (well, the majority of us at least). It’s those of us who choose to act on that impulse on a regular basis that tend to get branded with this negative stigma. But, is it fair? Do nappers know something that non-nappers don’t? They just might.
They are in good company. Winston Churchill, JFK, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush were all known to appreciate a regular afternoon nap.
More and more research is finding that naps are beneficial to our physical and emotional health. A recent National Health Interview Survey found one in three adults report they sleep an average of six or less hours a night. No wonder we are needing a daily siesta now more than ever before!
We’re the Weird Ones
85 percent of mammals nap throughout the day. Humans are in the minority.
NASA studies found pilots and astronauts performed 34% better and were 100% more alert after a 40-minute nap.
It’s About Time
- Research shows naps 20 minutes and longer boost memory and enhance creativity
- Naps of 20 – 30 minutes improve mood, alertness and performance
- Naps lasting 30 – 60 minutes enhance decision making skills
- Prime napping time is 1-3 p.m.
Reverse that Sleepless Night
Research by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism research found a short 30-minute nap could:
- Reverse the negative health effects of poor sleep
- Reduce stress
- Bolster the immune system
Nap with Caution
- Naps longer than 10-20 minutes can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented. Give yourself plenty of time to wake up after your nap before doing something of importance.
- Naps may have a negative effect on the length and quality of your nighttime sleep.
Americans are Missing Out
Most Europeans (except Germans) nap in the middle of the day. China, India and the Middle East also enjoy regular napping.
Lights On. Lights Out?
Since Edison invented the light bulb, average sleep has gone from nine hours to seven.
That’s how many Americans the National Commission on Sleep Disorders estimates are chronically sleep deprived.