In Praise Of The Nap

by Randy Murray on May 11, 2010

One of the great joys in life is sleep. Not only is it a restorative to the weary body and mind, but it also sharpens our memories and refreshes our ability to think and concentrate. And one of the most pleasant and effective forms of sleep is the short nap.

“Oh boy…sleep!  That’s where I’m a Viking!”

Ralph Wiggums – The Simpsons

I find that most days a brief nap, late in the afternoon, gives me several more hours of alert performance. Just twenty minutes, maybe just ten, only long enough to let my mind go and fully release consciousness, is all I need to reenergize me.

In fact more, say a full hour, is likely to have the opposite effect. If I sleep that long I find it hard to wake up and feel sluggish for some time after. Just a short nap is what I need to prepare me for the remainder of the day.

Some of my best days have brief naps scattered across them. Ten minutes mid morning after a few solid hours of work and before switching gears. A few minutes on the couch after lunch.   A brief nap together with my wife before I start cooking supper. Altogether we might be talking thirty minutes of sleep and rest across the day, but because of it, I stay mentally sharp and full of energy.

I remember tales of my great grandfather, who use to have to take a nap before he went to bed or he wouldn’t be able to sleep. Our bodies and minds try to tell us when they need a brief break, but we often ignore that sound advice and attempt to push through. Why not just take a few minutes, a brief break, and enjoy a pause that refreshes far more than a soda.

See also Get Some Sleep!

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