So many experts proclaiming they have a cure for
They warn that daytime napping will ruin any chance of someone with
Folks, it’s utter nonsense.
Insomniacs can and should benefit from an afternoon nap. Indeed, I’m one of the world’s greatest (and most enthusiastic) nappers. I’ll often find an empty meeting room at work during the lunchtime break and snooze for 10, 20 sometimes 30 minutes. I awake rested, refreshed and ready for the afternoon’s tasks.
You can nap, too, but not just because I say so. The thing is, napping is in our genes, as Prof. Jim Horne of Britain’s Loughborough Sleep Research Centre explains:
“Humans are designed for two sleeps a day – the main one at night and a nap in the afternoon – which explains why people in the warmer parts of the world have an afternoon siesta, and why the rest of us are likely to be sleepy at this time.”
Reading that, are you experiencing a “light bulb moment”? Have you suddenly thought about all those people at work and home who yawn after lunch and announce they feel sleepy? Is it any wonder energy levels are low in the early afternoon and people take so long to return to the pace of the morning? Look no further than babies and young children who need their afternoon nap.
In fact, defying the body’s urge to sleep at this time could be bad for your health: One intensive Greek study of almost 24,000 men and women over six years found that those who took a 30-minute siesta at least three times a week had a 37 per cent lower risk of a heart-related death than non-nappers!
Other studies suggest people who live in countries that observe the siesta have lower rates of heart disease.
So what do we in the west do? We invent the “working lunch” that a) interferes with a relaxed digestion and b) denies our brains some down time from the stress of the day.
Of course, napping is a serious issue for people with
But for napping to work, it has to be at the right time and in the right place. Early afternoon is best, preferably in a quiet room with dimmed lighting. If that’s not possible at work, you could always go to your car – I’ve reclined the driver’s seat, put on shades and had some marvelous naps in the office car park!
And speaking of the length of the nap, shorter is definitely better. In fact, scientists at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany recently reported that volunteer student nappers who slept for just six minutes performed better in subsequent memory tests than students who’d been kept awake.
OK, six minutes is a bit too short for me – I prefer the generally recommended 20-30 minutes. And I usually wake up spontaneously, as if my brain is saying, “Right, I’m ready to go again.”
If you have