“Napping has been found to be physiologically and psychologically beneficial. Napping for 20 minutes can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity. Napping may benefit the heart.”
Whoops! I just learned* that the Monday after we spring forward for Daylight Savings Time has been dubbed “National Napping Day” for the past 15 years by Dr. William Anthony, a professor at Boston University, and his wife Camille Anthony, co-authors of the aptly titled guide, The Art of Napping.
While I missed this unofficial holiday — and you may have, too! — the idea behind it is worth considering: a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. Even if you’re on the job somewhere during the day, taking a refreshing little respite in the afternoon when energy tends to lag can boost your productivity. In fact, a NASA study of sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.
Still not convinced? Well, here’s an A-list of storied and devoted nappers: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison. When he was heavily involved in experiments, our boy Thomas used to sweep everything off his big wooden desk and lie down for a bit of rejuvenating shuteye. A few benefits of napping noted by the National Sleep Foundation may seal the deal for you:
Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents.
Naps can increase alertness directly following the period of rest and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
Naps can soothe our psyche and serve as mini-vacations, providing relaxation and rejuvenation.
A relaxed mind is a creative mind! I’ve found that a late-afternoon nap can be energizing and give me a fresh angle on whatever I’m working on. Any other nappers out there? I’d love to hear from you. Write on!
* Many thanks to KWD reader Cathy Trementozzi for alerting me to this event!