March 23, 2010

Naps. Take One. Naps are Good 4 U

Outside of the United States, a break in the afternoon is no big deal.  Siestas are an accepted part of the schedule in countries as varied as Spain, the Philippines, China, Greece, India, and Italy.  Maybe they've got the right idea.

Naps Aren't Just for Sunday Afternoons Anymore

Naps are good for you.  Taking a short rest in the afternoon -- 30, 45 mins -- helps you physically and mentally.  Research studies have shown that a little snooze, or siesta, in the workday can help your heart.  Even a 15 minute nap can help fight against strokes, and of course, stress.  And they get the job done: British researchers have compared the nap with the alternative coffee/caffeine break in the afternoon, and the nap was more efficient in getting you back in the saddle. 

When Should You Take Your Cat Nap?

Some suggest the optimal time for your little nap is 12 hours after you awake.  Others suggest that you take the "power nap" when you start to feel it's the right time -- usually between 2 and 4 in the afternoon, when your body temperature drops and your metabolism lags. 

Where Should You Nap?

Harvard Medical School is recommending a 30 minute nap in a cool, quiet, dark place.  Harvard also recognizes how some innovative employers acknowledge the importance of a siesta these days:  Google has "nap pods" for its employees.  (I think I might feel a bit claustraphobic in these Google nap pods, but they're such a cool idea.)

So, take a nap today.  Siestas are smart!

Image:  The Sweet Siesta of a Summer's Day, by John William Godward, public domain (Wikimedia Commons). 


Luke @ said...

My Dad (a very busy guy) always took cat naps, and now I do, at least some of the time. And I totally agree with this post, they really are good for you!

I have also toyed with the idea of combining the coffee break and cat nap, to do a caffeine nap (look for it on lifehacker). Caffeine takes about 15 minutes to affect you, so you slam down a cup of coffee right before you take your cat nap. When you wake up, you're really ready to go!

Great post, Reba!

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Luke!

And, thx for the tip on the "caffeine nap" ... one more reason that I NEED hazelnut coffee in my life! LOL

Have a great day, and a nice nap!

Jonathan Blundell said...

I like the caffeine nap myself. It's worked well for me on days I can do it. Unfortunately there's no "nap-pods" in our office.
So if I really start dragging I might head out to my truck for a quick nap -- but its not the best place for one.
I'd also be afraid that with a "nap-pod" at work - I'd end up being the loud snoring "nap-pod"! DOH! That might keep me from napping like I should ;-).

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Jonathan,
You are hilarious. NEVER did I think of the snoring issue.

Ye Gads.

Thx for writing!
PS Thx too for the thumbs up on the caffeine nap. I'm gonna try it. Any excuse to drink coffee ....