Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: To error, human; to nap, divine
Vail, CO, Colorado
Of all things, I think the nap has received a bum rap.
I used to be nap resistant. In retrospect, it was foolish. But I was pressured by societal expectations. I was an achiever who could not take time out of a busy day of saving the world to nap. That was wasting time. Not allowed. The sign of a lazy person.
Oh, I was so wrong! It was not until I was pregnant with Number One did I finally acquiesce to the nap. As with most things in pregnancy, I honestly had no choice. My body was in control of the situation and it was insisting on naps. I was growing a person, after all, and that’s hard work.
I began to love my naps. Every day at 1:30 I would settle myself on my bed with a nest of pillows to prop and support my aching body and would drift off into a serious snooze. I would look forward to nap time. Sometimes the promise of a nap is what got me out of bed in the morning. Good times.
Since then, I have embraced naps as one of life’s simple pleasures. I’m now a big fan. No longer do I begrudge myself a nap. Some days it is a necessity.
I’ve considered creating a nap space at work under my large L-shaped desk, complete with Therm-a-rest, pillow, blanket, earplugs and eye mask. However, my desk happens to be in a hotel lobby. Somehow, I think my supervisors would frown upon this. So I’m going to start lobbying for a nap room at work.
As I began my research to support my campaign, I found actual scientific evidence on the benefits of napping. I ran across multiple articles recently espousing the positive aspects of a brief nap. Seems you can’t open a magazine without someone telling you to take a short mid-day snooze for the sake of your health, your productivity, your sex life, and a plethora of other reasons.
The length of the nap is of utmost importance. According to one website, there are several types. First is the Nano-Nap, 10 to 20 seconds, or the Meeting Nap as I like to call it. It really has no benefits other to ensure your neck works properly when it jerks back into upright position.
The Micro-Nap, two to five minutes in length, is “shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness.” I call this one the Webinar Nap.
The Mini-Nap, five to 20 minutes long, can increase alertness, stamina, motor learning and motor performance. This one, I can tell you from experience, can be accomplished in a number of places: in a car (preferably while not driving), in a quiet conference room, or when push comes to shove, in a bathroom stall.
The one with the greatest benefits is the Original Power Nap. A 20 to 30 minute sleep gives you the benefits of the Micro and the Mini, as well as increased alertness and productivity, reduced stress, improved memory and learning, increased cognitive function, greater creativity and better overall health.
I truly think it would behoove employers to take note of these things. Who doesn’t want more pleasant and productive employees? It’s a total win-win situation. Eschewing the concept of napping is so last century. American companies should look to their European counterparts, embrace the siesta, and launch a new era in American productivity.
Napping is not for slackers. Famous nappers include Lance Armstrong, Thomas Edison and Leonard da Vinci. Not an underachiever in the bunch. However, if you look closely at the Mona Lisa, you can see a few errant brush strokes where the artist tried to push it past naptime and started dozing off with the brush in his hand.
A nap is elegant in its simplicity. Lie down and go to sleep. No expensive equipment or membership required. Wake refreshed and revived. What could be better?
Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org