Many of us are not getting the necessary amount or quality of sleep
we need each night in order to function at our best the next day. Napping cannot necessarily make up for inadequate or poor
quality nighttime sleep, but taking a short nap does have its benefits.
According to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation:
Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes
and accidents. A study by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found
that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.
Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy.
Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a
mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and
The U.S. National Sleep Foundation offers these smart tips about napping:
Make your nap the right length: A short nap lasting 20 to 30 minutes
can provide significant benefit for improved alertness and performance
without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.
Take your nap in the right environment: Take your nap in a restful
place where you are lying down. The temperature in the room should be
comfortable. If possible, limit the amount of noise you can hear, and
the extent of the light filtering in.
Take your nap at the right time: Napping late in the day may affect
your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at
your regular bedtime. Likewise, you may not be able to nap if you try to
do so too early in the day.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of Americans take, on
average, at least one nap during the week. — National Sleep Foundation,
2005 Sleep in America poll
Researchers have found that heart-attack rates are rising for adults under age 40, climbing 2% every year for the last 10 years. They postulate the reason is younger patients are more likely to use marijuana and cocaine compared to slightly older counterparts, even if they drank less alcohol.