In praise of nap time

The news is really out now. Though I’ve been doing my best for years — decades — really, a lifetime — to spread the word about the super goodness of naps, it took Oprah to make it official.

Straight from the August 2011 issue of O (The Oprah Mag), Dr. Mehmet Oz has this to say:

A 2007 study of more than 23,000 Greek adults may have revealed a surprising key to their legendary vigor — the siesta. Compared with those who power through the day, adults who nap for a minimum of 30 minutes at least three times a week have a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.

When it comes to this kind of healthy effect I’m all over it. I’m all about excess when it comes to nappage. By my wildly unscientific calculations I figure that if I take three times the number of naps suggested above then I’ll receive three times the benefit. Sure this will require double napping on some days of the week, but for a 111% lower risk factor I’m willing to engage in that extreme discipline.

Some years ago I bought Take a Nap! Change Your Life by sleep researcher Dr. Sara Mednick. I was already convinced about the utility of napping, as is most of my family. My bro — a dynamo from dawn to dark and beyond — is a great example of someone who powers down and then powers right back up upon emerging from a nap. No one would ever accuse him of being a slacker (nor would you for Edison, Einstein, JFK, and Churchill either, among other famous nappers).

I bought it not for me, though it was enlightening, I bought it as evidence for others who poo poo the idea of a nap as they slog on through their afternoons too drowsed out to be effective.

Evolved people know that downtime is one of the most valuable gifts they can give themselves.

— Michael Bernard Beckwith, Spiritual Liberation 

So now you have one more reason — scientific and all — to do what your body is telling you to do.

PS: An effective nap is rarely over 30 minutes long, and can sometimes be as short as the time it takes for a spoon to drop out of your relaxed hand and hit a plate (Edison’s favorite method for the ultra-short nap).


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