Need An Afternoon Nap? Go Ahead, It’s Only Natural

September 25, 2012
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I thought there was something wrong with me because I crave afternoon naps. I find myself more refreshed after a 20 minute to 90 minute nap than after a full-night sleep.

But after reading a story on sleep in the New York Times Sunday, I feel a lot better.

It turns out that studies show that napping is normal and good for you.

“The idea that we should sleep in eight-hour chunks is relatively recent.,” writesDavid K. Randall. “The world’s population sleeps in various and surprising ways. Millions of Chinese workers continue to put their heads on their desks for a nap of an hour or so after lunch, for example, and daytime napping is common from India to Spain.” “Doctors who peddle sleep aid products and call for more sleep may unintentionally reinforce the idea that there is something wrong or off-kilter about interrupted sleep cycles. Sleep anxiety is a common result: we know we should be getting a good night’s rest but imagine we are doing something wrong if we awaken in the middle of the night. Related worries turn many of us into insomniacs and incite many to reach for sleeping pills or sleep aids, which reinforces a cycle that the Harvard psychologist Daniel M. Wegner has called “the ironic processes of mental control.”

“This, despite the fact that a number of recent studies suggest that any deep sleep — whether in an eight-hour block or a 30-minute nap — primes our brains to function at a higher level, letting us come up with better ideas, find solutions to puzzles more quickly, identify patterns faster and recall information more accurately. In a NASA-financed study, for example, a team of researchers led by David F. Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found that letting subjects nap for as little as 24 minutes improved their cognitive performance.”

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2 Responses to Need An Afternoon Nap? Go Ahead, It’s Only Natural

  1. Alyssa on September 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Oh thanks for this! I just woke up and now I am not so guilty

  2. Farfel on September 27, 2012 at 6:43 am

    PM naps are the way to go. It’s like having two days in one.





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