Afternoon Delight


“The Napping Muse” Paper and Acrylics Collage © N. Doany

On Sunday afternoon I did something so deliciously naughty I’m not even sure I should talk about it in public like this.

But I can’t resist.

Let me set the stage.

I’d had a strenuous couple of weeks. Then two late nights in a row. So, I was feeling more than a little weary by Sunday. The sun was shining, but the cold weather was back and there had even been a dusting of snow overnight. I’d been outside briefly in the morning and now had no desire or energy left to do much of anything. Soooo….

I tossed myself on the sofa and had a nap!

Just like that! How decadent! How self-indulgent! How amazingly wonderful!

It had been so long since I’d had a nap. I must have been crazy. Why do kids fight so hard not to nap? It’s the best thing ever. Forty-minutes of flaking out in the middle of the day and I felt like a million bucks. And, I had the best night’s sleep ever that night. For once I didn’t have to fight to stay awake long enough to drag myself into bed and pass out. No! I tucked myself in, read for a while and settled comfortably into sleep for a change.

Actual science has proven that naps can:

  • Decrease stress
  • Increase alertness, productivity, cognitive function and creativity
  • Improve memory and learning
  • Motivate exercise
  • Promote a more restful sleep at night
  • Promote better health including reducing risks of heart disease.

 Here are some tips to perfect napping:

  • Forget about all the stuff you think you should be doing and know that a short nap is the best thing you could be doing right now
  • Don’t nap too late in the day or you’ll nap too long and feel all weird when you wake up instead of bright and perky
  • Don’t eat too much or too much heavy food before napping
  • Find a quiet comfortable place that’s reasonably dark
  • Don’t forget your blankie – it keeps you cosy 

How long should you nap? That’s up to you. Here are the five main types of naps according to Riran Project who seem to know everything about everything:

  • THE NANO-NAP: 10 to 20 seconds. Sleep studies haven’t yet concluded whether there are benefits to these brief intervals, like when you nod off on someone’s shoulder on the train
  • THE MICRO-NAP: two to five minutes. Shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness
  • THE MINI-NAP: five to 20 minutes. Increases alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance
  • THE ORIGINAL POWER NAP: 20 minutes. Includes the benefits of the micro and the mini, but additionally improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory (remembering facts, events, and names)
  • THE LAZY MAN’S NAP: 50 to 90 minutes. Includes slow-wave plus REM sleep; good for improving perceptual processing; also when the system is flooded with human growth hormone, great for repairing bones and muscles 

So, really, if you haven’t had a nap since Kindergarten, I highly recommend it. I know workplaces that have nap rooms. I don’t know why they aren’t mandatory in every workplace.