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Savor Sunday: The Power of Napping

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Tess from The Bold Life at a Portland coffee house. Over coffee and chocolate we got to know each other and Tess asked me a lot of thoughtful questions. But my all time favorite was:

“What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your cats?”

I replied, “My cats have taught me the importance of getting enough sleep!”

Most Americans intuitively know how important sleep is, without having to learn from cats. Unfortunately, they don’t value it enough. Lost sleep is a big problem and people are becoming more and more sleep deprived. According to USA Today, “lost sleep costs the average American worker 11.3 days, or $2,280, in lost productivity each year, and the total cost to the nation is $63.2 billion annually.”

I used to be one of these statistics too. I never seemed to get enough sleep and always felt tired. Like my cats, I now go to bed early, rise early in the morning, and I’m taking more naps in the early afternoon. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a daily 20 to 30 minute nap can leave people feeling more alert, productive, and decrease on the job mistakes. For example, a NASA study found that military pilots and astronauts who took a 40-minute nap “improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.”

Want to incorporate the power of napping into your life? All you have to do is make the time.

Napping is easier for me now that I work from home. But when I worked a day job, I would take naps during my lunch break in the park or in an empty cubicle. If you can’t take naps during the work day, incorporate small naps into your weekend routine.

Napping is one of life’s little pleasure. Do it often and savor every moment!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jane September 18, 2011, 8:38 am

    That cat is beautiful!

    I’m going to try to take a nap this afternoon because of this post.

    • Tammy Strobel September 18, 2011, 8:40 am

      @Jane – Thanks! That’s my cat Elaina. She’s super cute.

      Yay for Sunday naps! A nap is on my agenda too. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  • Rachel September 18, 2011, 8:44 am

    Beautifully written, Tammy!

    The importance of sleep is way undervalued. I have a young child and with night wakings I rarely get a full night’s sleep. So I go to bed early and and take naps when I can.

  • rob September 18, 2011, 8:48 am

    If I sleep enough at night (say, 7 hours) I’m not tired enough to nap early in the afternoon. And if I then succumb to a nap later (say 3pm) then I’m screwed for going to bed early. A summer of not managing this has left me with a way screwed up sleep schedule. I’m trying hard to get back to a midnight-7am sleep schedule, or perhaps 11pm – 6am, but there’s no way I can incorporate naps into that and have regular sleep too.

    But boy is that 1pm nap ever nice when you’re tired.

  • Roberta September 18, 2011, 8:59 am

    Too funny…I used to do the same thing when I worked in a corporate office…I’d take my lunch breaks alone and find a nice spot under a tree and park my car and take a nap. I’d call my hubby and ask him to give me a wake up call in 20 minutes or so to make sure I’d wake up in time to get back to work…but I’d always wake up by myself in time. I have always loved taking naps and all’s I need is 20 minutes of snoozing to feel totally refreshed. On another note….taking naps does not affect my ability to go to sleep at night either. A lot of people, like my hubby, think that naps will affect their night-time sleep patterns and seriously this is a big mis-understanding. Going to bed at night is a habit that you must perpetuate with a good routine which includes limiting your stimulants like coffee, alchol and electronics like video games and computers, etc.
    Next week I’ll be in Portland for Art n’Soul…do you have any good restaurants to recommend? Thanks, Roberta

  • Roberta September 18, 2011, 9:27 am

    I work 12 hour + shifts as an RN. Multiple studies show if given the time to nap during our shift (with someone to cover our patients), productivity does increase as well as critical thinking. My hospital does not do this but I hear in CA it is mandatory. YES for naps – I nap with my dogs; funny, even on very nice days, if I am napping due to my work schedule (never catch up doing night shifts), they nap with me, too. Elaina is a treasure.

    • Joe3 September 21, 2011, 9:29 pm

      Naps are GREAT, especially at work. We’d eat on hospital time, and nap on our 30 minute lunch hour. I don’t miss the stress of floor nursing, but those naps really helped back then…..
      And if I were younger, I’d head to Cali and work, taking my lessons from Tammy and Logan = small/timy moveable house, no car, a good bike, lots of free time, and screw the American dream of bigger and better.

  • Cameron September 18, 2011, 9:43 am

    Making time for a nap is like making time to prepare a good, nutritious meal.

    Many people claim that they do not HAVE enough time to do these things, yet food & sleep are so very basic needs for happiness and well-being.

  • Gayle September 18, 2011, 10:47 am

    Perfect timing! On Wednesday night, I returned home to Los Angeles from a trip to Boston to visit my son and daughter-in-law. On Thursday, I went right into a short house/dog sitting job a few miles from my home – but it means I am not sleeping in my own bed. So, I am still off (jet lagged!!) after four days – can’t get to sleep early and keep waking up very early so I am not getting enough sleep. I was sitting her thinking I would try to take a nap. The dogs are all napping so why shouldn’t I? Whether I sleep or not, that is exactly what I am going to do!!

  • Gina September 18, 2011, 11:36 am

    Hi Tammy,
    Your cat is beautiful! :0)

    I agree… Taking time for naps is important and can leave you feeling totally refreshed!
    That being said, I don’t always take the time to do it or give in to the urge to doze off.
    I think I’ll be more inclined to give in to that luxury after reading this post. :0)
    I also have two little dogs who are experts in the art of napping and lounging. Perhaps I need to follow their example more often! :0)

    Thanks for another thoughtful post!

  • Benjamin Spall September 18, 2011, 12:41 pm

    Tammy, that is one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen 🙂

    I used to take a regular naps when I decided to cut my core sleep hours down from seven to six. I’d strike something called the ‘half military-crawl position’ which is a sleeping position designed to get you off to sleep as quickly as possible. You lay flat down on your stomach, raising one leg and the corresponding arm up into a right angle (as if you were crawling), keeping your other leg and its corresponding arm laying vertically down the bed.

    I’d set the alarm for twenty minutes and I’d be away! The only issue I had with it is I dream a LOT (or more to the point, I remember my dreams a lot). I am also a sufferer of night terrors. 90% of the times I’ve taken a nap during the day I’ve woken up feeling revitalised and raring to get on with some work, but unfortunately 10% of the time I’ve found myself in a horrible twenty minute nightmare that I couldn’t wake myself from! I sure never wake up feeling revitalised after those naps…

    All things considered, naps are the way forward. You’ve convinced me to take one tomorrow before my late-afternoon run 🙂 — thank you for the great post.

  • Allison September 18, 2011, 1:26 pm

    My cat (tries) to remind me to be still and relax, so she can sit on my lap. I think if I listened to her more I’d probably be a happier person — at least a more relaxed one.

    Whether it’s a nap or not, I think there’s something powerful in taking time to relax and recharge in the middle of the day. I’m also a fan of a quiet stroll, or a bit of time in nature, to re-energize for the second half of the day.

  • Kane September 19, 2011, 7:34 am

    Tammy this is all so true. I was up at 4.30 this morning to catch an early flight at 7.00. This afternoon a couple of hours in bed have sorted my tiredness out just fine.

  • Margreet September 19, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Love to nap! But funny enough I can only nap when I am lying in my bed. Not on the couch, not on a gardenlounger, not anywhere else. No need to set an alarmclock I awake naturally after about 20 min. So sad my boss won’t allow me to nap 🙁

  • Frank September 22, 2011, 8:05 am

    Americans tend to see napping as equivalent to being lazy for some reason. The protestant work ethic is all well and good, but taking care of yourself and doing what you can to improve your productivity isn’t a bad thing. The handful of times I’ve taken naps during college I found it really beneficial. I think I’ll start making it part of my daily routine (at least until I get a job that doesn’t allow for it).