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.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Or subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.