The nap has long been the troubled stepchild of the universally admired good night’s sleep. New research is showing that the daytime snooze may have health benefits without interfering with nighttime sleep, reports the November 2009 issue of the Harvard Health Letter.
Naps, of course, are an antidote to daytime sleepiness, which can tug at the eyelids for a variety of reasons. It’s common to have a little “hump” of midafternoon sleepiness, something that a nap can smooth out nicely. And while some people worry about napping more as they get older, new research suggests adding daytime sleep to your schedule as a way to make up for the normal, age-related decay in the quality of nighttime sleep.
Lately, researchers have shown that sleep improves learning, memory, and creative thinking. In many cases, the edifying sleep has been a nap. These findings argue for employer policies that might tolerate, even encourage, napping.
The Harvard Health Letter offers some tips for napping:
Keep it short. A 20- to 30-minute nap may be ideal. Even just napping for a few minutes has benefits. Longer naps can lead to grogginess.
Find a dark, quiet, cool place. Reducing light and noise helps most people get to sleep faster. Cool temperatures are helpful, too.
Plan on it. Waiting till sleepiness gets so bad that you have to take a nap can be dangerous if you’re driving. A regular nap time may also help you get to sleep faster and wake up quicker.
Don’t feel guilty! A nap can make you more productive at work and at home.
Read the full-length article: "Napping may not be such a no-no"