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Let Sleeping Children Lie

Image by stewickie via Flickr

Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two.

~Winnie the Pooh

I’m a napper. I always have been, ever since I can remember. Nothing is more delicious than just waking up from a nap, with just enough sleep to feel refreshed!

Somehow I always feel like a slacker when I nap, though. My internal critic complains – ‘how can you sleep when there is sooooo much work to be done?’  ‘Just a few minutes’ I plead.  ‘I’ll get more done if I can close my eyes for a coupla minutes’.

Darn critic, shut up already.

There’s good reason to believe that napping is a benefit to my health. So maybe I didn’t exercise today….or eat enough fruit.  But a nap might just land me that gold star for healthy behavior!

Backing up my theories about napping is Boston University professor William Anthony, PhD.  He maintains that napping improves overall health and productivity, along with other significant advantages to well-being:

  • improves mood
  • improves performance
  • no cost
  • no sweat
  • non-fattening
  • non-invasive
  • no bad side effects (unless you’re driving!)

Winston Churchill was well known for his power naps.  If he felt it necessary to nap in order to endure his leadership responsibilities, then who am I to argue?  I shudder to think about surviving the sleepless nights of motherhood without the ability to squeeze in a nap. Other famous nappers were Lyndon Johnson and JFK, just to name a few.  At least I’m good company!

Thankfully, my body knows how to nap well. An optimal nap time is between 15 and 30 minutes (although I can be refreshed with 5 minutes of my eyes closed).  Everyone has their own sweet spot, but the ability to nap properly doesn’t come naturally to everybody.  The Chef (dearest hubby) is a case in point.  He can’t just stop at 20-30 minutes and wake up refreshed.  Invariably, he lingers in sleep too long and wakes up groggy and grumpy.  For a how-to on on designing the perfect nap for you, check out Lifehack.

Did you know that the humble nap has its own day on the calendar? March 14 is National Napping Day.   Who knew?

Have you had your nap today?

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