Cafe Witness

Friday, May 25, 2007

In Praise of Naps

The concept of the nap is a touchy subject in my household. One of us (i.e., me) believes a nap is one of the most useful, refreshing and rewarding ways to spend a slice of one's day. The other (i.e., she) believes naps are evil, soul-draining activities that rob a person of time that would be better spent being productive.

I'll admit it's entirely possible to overnap -- lord knows I'd sleep 24 hours a day if it were physically possible. But I actually consider a strategically timed nap to be one of the best things a person can do to improve productivity.

Maybe it's just me, but I find a nap helps me:

- recharge and reinvigorate my body

- clarify and recalibrate my mind

- calm down and refresh my energy

The way my mind works, I tend to go through "stages" in a day, in which I transition from number crunching to organizing to creating to filing to scheduling to brainstorming. I find the transition between mindsets can be jarring, and it often helps immensely to grab a quick nap and approach the new situation with a new frame of mind.

I'm not alone. Studies have shown that workplaces which allow their employees to nap / meditate on the job experience higher morale and increased productivity. It also decreases the chances of heart disease!

From one such article in the Chicago Tribune:
By one estimate, sleep-related fatigue costs U.S. businesses $150 billion annually in absenteeism, accidents and lost productivity, according to a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine.

Pulling an all-nighter or sleeping as little as four to five hours daily for a week produces the same level of cognitive impairment as if a person were legally drunk, with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10, according to Czeisler. We would never praise someone who came to work inebriated, he argues, yet business glorifies people who sacrifice sleep to work.

Polls suggest a majority of Americans are sleep-deprived, says Darrel Drobnich, program director of the National Sleep Foundation. The group's 2005 poll found that U.S. adults sleep an average of 6.9 hours daily, compared with about 10 hours a century ago.

How ironic: Given the rigors of the workplace and the pressure to succeed, sometimes the best solution is to check out of the game for a catnap.

What about you: do you find a nap recharges your batteries or derails your day?

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  • I can totally see your point on recharging the batteries but I have to aggree with the other person and say it's a big waste of time. If I ever found a magic lamp my first wish would be to never sleep.

    By Blogger Clintus McGintus, at 1:05 AM  

  • I almost read the entire post, but felt the need to sleep for a bit - I might get around to reading the rest of it later, unless something else comes along and I

    < no carrier >

    By Anonymous Michael Bailey, at 8:30 AM  

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