Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Napping Your Way to Happiness and Success

When I lived in Taiwan - or when I travelled in Europe - I was always amused by the office workers who kept pillows in a drawer at work. They would, literally, fall asleep at their desks after lunch or in the early afternoon. Napping was just an accepted part of the culture. Americans, on the other hand, have always looked at it as a sign of sloth - at least after pre-school they do. Now, it appears the good word on napping is that it is valuable, even necessary, for health and well being.

Matt McFarland looks at the positive side of napping in his article "Why You Should Be Proud to Sleep on the Job," published recently in the Washington Post. The experts say napping is actually good for us, leading to less stress and lower risk of heart attacks. Napping actually makes people more productive. In fact, it was a key component in the genius of both Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali, who would nap with metal objects in their hand, so they would wake up at the edge of consciousness when the objects fell to the floor.

While jolting myself awake to capture moments of creative insight doesn't sound fun to me, drifting off in my office chair or on the couch at about 3:00 pm sounds great. In fact, I love to nap. I will even nap around 8:00 pm, only to wake up, work some more, and then go back to bed at 11:00. Apparently, we are hardwired to napping, as most mammals do. It may have been a way to avoid the hot afternoon sun. And we should never resist the urge. Remember, that is one of Robert Fulghum's bits of advice in "All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" - take a nap every afternoon.


Mike Thiac said...

I believe it was Henry Ford who called a "good night's sleep" a complete waste of time and he would take naps all day and night. He was always just waking up and going.

Electric Blue said...

Napping is heaven! It really is a shame that we Americans frown on it. I often come home at lunch and nod off for 20 minutes, which is the ideal amount of time for me. I wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.