Let's Have a Nap

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • With the hectic lifestyles most of us lead these days, napping has become almost a way of life. Think naps are for sissies? Listen. Even the sports teams are getting into it.


    "A lot of things may change in the NHL," Scott Mellanby of the Atlanta Thrashers says, "but not naps. It's just a part of being a hockey player."



    One complaint from participants in the Olympics is sleep deprivation. With jet lag and getting used to an unfamiliar time zone, lack of sleep is often a problem, and that's not taking into consideration the numerous events taking place. Many have discovered that grabbing a nap whenever possible is the only way to survive.

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    The National Sleep Foundation tells us that if you are experiencing sleep deprivation, your sports performance may suffer. They list the following ways this can affect you:

    • Impaired motor function that can cause lack of coordination and delayed reaction time.
    • Delayed vision recognition time - You don't see the things you should fast enough.
    • Delayed auditory reaction time - You don't hear the things you need to hear.
    • Reduced cardiovascular performance - fitness levels reduced.
    • Diminished mental functioning - You aren't thinking clearly.
    • Reduced endurance - You tire easily. [
    • Moodiness and irritability.

    This problem isn't just applicable to teens. Lack of sleep affects all of us the same way, from children to teens right up to the elderly, and people in power are finally recognizing it. Doctors and health organizations are encouraging people to get enough sleep, even if it involves taking a nap. Work places are beginning to encourage employees to indulge in afternoon power naps (short naps of 30 to 60 minutes duration, or even less) and are even designating rooms for this purpose.


    According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are three types of naps:

    • Planned naps - Taking a nap before you get sleepy.
    • Emergency naps - for when you just can't stay awake.
    • Habitual naps - Naps you take at the same time every day.

    So, I would say that those who take naps are not sissies, or weak in any way. They are very smart people who want to preserve their health and stamina. If a nap is the only way to ward off sleep deprivation, then take a nap. If it's beneficial for hockey players, then it should be beneficial for everyone.


    Harvard Men's Health offers these suggestions for getting the most out of your nap:

    • Plan to take your nap at a good time in your daily sleep-wake cycle; for many people, sometime between noon and 4 p.m. is best.
    • Don't sleep too long; a 20- to 40-minute nap may refresh your day without keeping you up at night.
    • Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to wake up fully before you resume a demanding task."



Published On: September 05, 2008