The Benefits of Napping

sleepy tired

Remember when you were in preschool and Kindergarten and there was nap time? All the kids pulled out your nap mats and favorite blanket. The teacher would turn out the lights and everyone would settle in for an afternoon siesta.

How great was that? That was my one of my favorite times of the day. It was also one of the things I missed most when I started first grade. Sometimes I wish I could still have nap time. There was just something about getting that 45 minutes of quiet/nap time that made the rest of the day go much easier.

For those of you who are parents, or those that work with young children, you can probably tell the difference in their late afternoon behavior when your child has taken a nap and when they have not. They are probably much crankier, excitable, whiny, or challenging when they have not had some quiet time. Even though my seven year old insists he no longer needs a nap, I still make him have quiet time in which he can either read, write, or draw. Many times he ends up falling asleep anyway.

Whoever said napping or resting in the middle of the day was not necessary after the age of six? Speaking from personal experience, when your baby or toddler is sick or for whatever reason does not sleep through the night, a mid-day snooze is a welcome relief! The only downside is occasionally, 45 minutes to an hour just doesn’t seem long enough.

Here’s a bit of great news of all of us adults who miss those early childhood nap times. It has been found that taking a power nap in the afternoon increases cognitive abilities, patience, and mood. It also speeds reaction time, increases efficiency, and can help improve a person’s overall health. In fact, taking a 15 to 20 minute nap in the afternoon is more effective than getting an extra 20 minutes overnight. It seems that there is a natural tendency for the body to start to shut down about 6 to 8 hours after waking in the morning.  It’s what is commonly referred to as the afternoon energy lull.

Some of the world’s most creative geniuses, like Beethoven and Einstein, as well as our greatest leaders, such as Winston Churchill, Napoleon, and John F. Kennedy believed in the positive affects of napping. Even today, high powered and influential companies such as Pizza Hut International, AT&T, Deloitte & Touche in Pittsburgh, and the US Army, have started to implement employee nap time. Some have even designated a special room just for napping and relaxing. In those companies, managers have noted that employees are happier, more committed to their jobs, and productivity has increased.

There you go. Evidence that napping is actually good for you and your company! How great is that? So the next time your boss catches you snoozing at your desk, just assure them that you are just doing your part to increase the company’s overall value.

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