I lived in Spain for two years after college, and during that time, I fell in love with the cultural custom known as the siesta. In many parts of the country, entire cities shut down from 2 to 5 p.m. so that everyone can take a rejuvenating post-lunch nap. Today, I probably take one midday nap per week. I would love to take more, but unfortunately the practice of adult napping is generally frowned upon in U.S. and thought of as a sign of laziness. However, one doctor is trying to change the way Americans think about the adult nap. Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, the chief medical officer of Well & Being, believes that more adults should take naps in order to make up for time not spent sleeping.
“Doctors recommend about eight hours of sleep each night, but unfortunately this rarely occurs. Sleeping for the recommended duration becomes difficult between work, stress, family, and social commitments,” Low Dog says. “Naturally, these barriers can impact your well-being and can easily lead to chronic sleep deprivation. However, it has been found that short naps can help prevent both sleep deprivation as well as sleepiness.” Low Dog classifies a short nap as being about 20 to 30 minutes long and should take place during the middle of the day, between 1 and 3 p.m. Naps also have a several health benefits, which I list below.
- Naps reduce the risk of accidents and errors while on the job.
- Naps increase alertness and your performance at work and in day-to-day life. “A short nap provides significant benefits for improved performance and alertness, while avoiding a groggy period after the rest,” explains Low Dog. “Remember, naps aren’t just for kids: Adults need them too!”
- Naps promote refreshed and rested feelings. As someone who loves naps, I agree with Low Dog and often feel lighter and less tired after a power nap. An extra 20 to 30 minutes of sleep will give you a boost, allowing you to spend that extra time with family and friends.
- A midday nap won’t negatively affect your nighttime sleep. To take a proper power nap, get comfortable in a quiet spot. Use an eye mask to block out the bright lights of day, and set your alarm so you don’t over-nap. When I nap, I sleep on top of my made bed, but I have a special blanket that I only use for taking naps, and I always use an eye mask.
An eye mask can be functional and fashionable.
Do you nap?