The first few days after we switch over to Daylight Saving Time always finds me a bit out of synch. It is no coincidence that today is “National Napping Day”. This day encourages us to take a nap and catch up on the hour of sleep we lost due to “springing” forward at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Numerous studies have shown that a short 10-20 minute nap can be effective when midday fatigue hits. Improvements in alertness, productivity and mood have all show to be a positive effect of taking a nap.
If you decide to partake in “National Napping Day” here are some things to remember:
- Keep your naps short. Don’t nap for more than 20 minutes are you will risk entering deeper sleep and feeling more groggy instead of rested.
- Take your nap in the afternoon. The best time is usually during mid-afternoon when most people experience post-lunch sleepiness. Don’t nap any later or you will risk messing up your nighttime sleep cycle.
- Find a nice quiet and dark place with comfortable room temperature and away from any distractions.
Many successful people have taken advantage of naps. Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and many others apparently understood the benefits of naps. With a society that refuses to slow down, a nap will prevent a person from mental burnout. Taking a nap allows us to get a reboot and take a timeout from the stress of the day. People who nap have a greater emotional resilience.
I remember as a child that I resisted taking naps. It seemed like a form of punishment but isn’t it funny that the older we get, the more open we are to taking naps? When someone suggests naptime, I’m rarely opposed to the idea and possibly the first one to go to sleep.
I’m not advocating that you sleep on the job. In most countries, sleeping on the job isn’t just frowned upon, it could get you fired. In Japan, napping in the office is common and culturally accepted. You are looked upon as successful if you napped. In our country, naps aren’t really encouraged. In fact, you are looked upon as lazy if you do it. While it isn’t wise to nap while you are supposed to be working, taking a nap on a designated break is probably what is intended by the positive effects of a few minutes of sleep during the day.
You won’t make up for losing the hour from the time change this weekend, but you can do yourself some good by taking a short nap today.