March 12, 2018 is Napping Day!
Now Napping Day is a holiday I can get my head around! For some reason an afternoon kip is much nicer than some night time zzzz’s… and for me, it also seems much easier to nod off in the afternoon. Maybe this has an element of naughtiness?
Still, what better way to celebrate this day than to enjoy a nap?
And while I didn’t know this day existed until I recently searched for this year’s worldwide holidays out of random curiosity, I really feel the Spanish are onto something with their well known tradition of siesta’s.
And in this case, the United States celebrate the day of the power nap every Monday after Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins, in order to remind us that we all need to implement breaks and luscious naps at least on occasion.
What is a Nap?
Of course, a nap is a short sleep during the day! Even 20 minutes can boost short-term alertness and the feeling of wellbeing.
Who are the great nappers?
If is comes down to sheer volume, I’m sure I am in the race with babies, children and the elderly. However, for better company, famous power nap advocates reportedly include:
The inspiring Leonardo De Vinci
The incredible Albert Einstein
Ah, you are in good company!
Isn’t Taking A Nap Mere Laziness?
As someone who doesn’t sleep well at night due to pain, maybe I’m biased, but I believe for many engaged in the hustle and bustle of modern day life, a nap has much to offer.
And the power nap has been much studied.
According to an article published in Journal of Sleep Research, “People choose to take naps for a variety of reasons. While some nap in response to sleep loss (i.e., replacement napping) or in preparation for sleep loss (i.e., prophylactic napping), others simply nap for enjoyment (i.e., appetitive napping).”
Who knew, napping has names!
With a sleep offering recuperative powers that can’t be matched by medication, supplementation or any other means, it makes sense that a nap can help.
A power nap can:
Improve reaction time
Restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents
Reduce sleepiness (well, really?!)
Improve cognitive performance
Maintain daytime vigilance
Boost memory and learning
Ready for a kip yet?
… But Doesn’t It Wreck Our Evening Slumber?
My psychologist has mentioned current research shows a power nap doesn’t wreck night time sleep. I’m running with this. The best way to discover how a nap effects your night time sleep is to simply give it a try and track your results.
How To Get The Most From A Power Nap
As with nighttime sleep, there are steps you can take to boost your shut eye.
Shut out light
Maintain a slightly cool room
Rest on a comfortable, supportive bed
Use a posture form pillow
Turn off all noisy and potentially noice producing items (yes, this includes your computer and phone)
And enjoy. There is no need to feel guilty; you’re simply engaging in a practice that has been handed down through many customs over the ages. And in a sleep deprived world, the power nap has become even more important.