The Art of Nap
I look forward to my Sunday afternoon nap. I wait for the sun to peep in the window just so and then shut the door, snuggle under my down comforter, read through a couple of chapters of my latest book, and drowsily drift into the sweet dreams of a lazy afternoon slumber. It’s even better in summer when my afternoon nap is accomplished in my favorite backyard hammock.
As beneficial as naps are, naps in the States seem to suffer from bad PR, as if taking a nap is synonymous with sloth and non-productivity. However, in other parts of the world it’s recognized that the afternoon is a time of siesta and rest in order to finish the day with zest and zip.
Whether taken in the afternoon or whenever the need arose , some of history’s main line notables have appreciated the nap:
- Margaret Thatcher
- Thomas Edison
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Ronald Reagan
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Salvador Dali
- John D. Rockefeller
- Hmm–anyone else notice it’s mostly men who are on the list?
There is something to this nap stuff–seriously! I did some research and pulled up some heavy-duty information. The major source of information came from the Sleep Foundation, but there is a huge warning about all their information being copyrighted so I suggest you click here to find out for yourself how important napping is for your health.
The benefits of napping being commiserate to creativity are proven with the likes of Edison, Einstein, and Salvador Dali. I have learned to keep my Post-it pad next to me when napping because afterwards, or even during, while my body is resting, my brain is buzzing away with ideas. I have a whole pad of dream-induced ideas that will keep me well-supplied for writing material for years (and years).
You would think there would be more books about naps. This picture book was part of our reading repertoire. I can relate to the snoring granny these days.
If you are wondering how long you should nap to recharge your batteries, here is a helpful guide from the Natural Sleep Store:
The Values of a Your Nap
10-20 seconds: Sleep studies haven’t yet concluded whether there are benefits to these brief intervals, like when you nod off on someone’s shoulder on the train.
2-5 minutes: These have proven to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness.
5-20 minutes: These mini-naps increase alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance.
20 minutes: The original “Power Nap” is 20 minutes and includes the benefits of shorter naps but also additionally improve muscle memory and clear the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory.
50-90 minutes: Now we’re talking! Naps of this length includes slow-wave plus REM sleep and are good for improving perceptual processing and repairing bones and muscles when the system is flooded with human growth hormone.
- Nap Time (szmusil.wordpress.com)
- The Cottage Lifestyle: Winter Napping (heartseasecottage.typepad.com)
- Sleep on it: Why regular rest makes for a more productive lifestyle (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)