The Benefits of Taking a Nap

“A little slumber, a little sleep…”

Though the Bible verse partially quoted above warns against slothfulness, new scientific evidence confirms what millions have known for millennia: Taking a mid-day nap can be good for you.

According to a story in Bottom Line Health, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School have found that those who take a short nap reduce their risk of death from heart disease and stroke. The article also claims that those who nap “are more alert, make better decisions, score significantly higher on creativity and memory tests and have better motor function after napping compared with people who don’t nap.”[1]

In the article, Dr. Mednick offers the following advice:

  1. “Make a 20-minute nap part of your daily routine.” It’s important to put this into your schedule.

  2. “Choose a comfortable, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.”

  3. Cover yourself with a light blanket or jacket, if possible.”

  4. “Set an alarm to go off after 20 minutes,” so that you won’t sleep too long. She adds, however, that if you want to sleep for 60 or 90 minutes, there are significant health benefits. Just don’t interrupt your nap, or allow yourself to stay in bed too long after that.

After all, sleeping too much may indicate that you have an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.

So, all you workaholics out there: If you really want to be productive over a long period of time, slow down and take a siesta!

[1] Interview with Sara Mednick, PhD, “Indulge Your Way to A Long Life,” Bottom Line Health, May, 2010, p.5.