Sleep. When I was a teenager I slept all the time. Well not when I was running the streets half the night. Studies show that most adults need somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. The same studies show that we actually get about six or less per night.

Do We Really Need Naps?

Our hectic lifestyles and the pressures of work and family take a daily toll on our psyche. Laying down quietly only allows us to replay the day and toss and turn for hours each night thinking about what we should have said and done. During the day we are not at our best and doze off at our desks just about the time the boss walks by. We need naps. It’s in our DNA.

Our Biological Clock

Our bodies are amazing machines. We have all sorts of strange sounding names for the various things our bodies are programed to do. One of those amazing things is something called “circadian rhythm.” It simply means that when it’s light out we tend to stay awake and when darkness falls we get sleepy.

But there are some of us that feel that little drowsy feeling about mid-afternoon when a nap would sure hit the spot. The good news is that the feeling is entirely normal and is actually part of the programing of our circadian rhythm. And it really has little to do with how much sleep we got the previous night.

The Benefits of a Nap

  • A short 15-20 minute nap is much more effective than coffee or Red Bull to wake yourself up. The effect of a nap will be longer lasting than your favorite caffeinated beverages.
  • Naps can boost your memory. A Harvard study found that naps are very helpful in memory retention and learning.
  • Sleeping 30 minutes at least three times a week can lower your risk of heart disease as much at 37%. It can also help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and weight gain.
  • Chances are you will feel more creative after a nap. You will see the solution to problems more completely.
  • Naps can boost your work performance. NASA says that pilots that take naps during flights, don’t worry the co-pilot is doing the flying, increased overall alertness by 54% and improved their performance as much as 34%.

Some Final Thoughts

Being retired means naps are no problem. I can always find time to work in a good nap. But for those who are working it’s not always that easy. But rather than running to some fast food joint and wolfing down a big mac why not bring your lunch and sack out in your car. Even dropping off for a couple of minutes will make a marked difference in how you feel for the rest of the afternoon. You will feel better and do better at our work.

You might like this idea and want to try it but maybe you think it’s all some kind of psychobabble. Before you make a decision why not sleep on it. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the ideal nap and how to get it. Stay tuned. Does a nap work for you? Comment below.

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