Napping is the New Secret Weapon for Better Health and More Energy

The great British writer, Thomas Dekker once wrote, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties our health and body together.” While those words were true in 1650, it’s easy to forget them in the non-stop, always on the go society that we live in today. Email, work, and fitness all seem to take the front seat with sleep bringing up the rear. With all these distractions, it seems like it’s never been harder to get a full eight hours of sleep.

While it may not be a substitute for a full eight hours, there is new evidence to suggest that napping can also be a vital part of your sleep and health routine. Naps have long been thought to hurt your sleep overall — if you sleep during the day, won’t that make falling asleep at night that much harder?

It turns out nothing could be further from the truth. Take this recent quote from a 2009 report by the Pew research center, an industrial think tank tasked with studying the workforce.

“While sleeping too much during a midday nap may be harmful to the natural circadian rhythm,” says Benjamin Smarr, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Berkeley, “20 to 30 minutes of napping during the day will actually improve overall function throughout the day and even give you an evening boost, while not generally having any negative effects on how we sleep at night.”

Good For You, Good For Business

It’s this new information that has silicon valley companies scrambling to give their employees enough space to doze off during the day — a far cry from the old days when sleeping on the job was considered a bad thing. Giant companies like Uber, Facebook, Ben & Jerry’s, and Google have all moved to give their employees a chance to catch some good sleep before getting back to work.

““A good nap is not a long interruption in the day, but a brief moment of respite, where we’re able to recharge. This actually improves our overall activity throughout the day and makes us productive for longer periods of time; it’s the smart move,” says Smarr.

Indeed there is new research to show that naps improve cognition, reaction time, decision making, and even interpersonal skills — all things vitally important to a functional work environment.

The Best Time to Snooze

There’s no better time than when you’re tired, but there are some general rules that apply to most sleepy folks. It turns out midday is the best time for you to nod off and grab a quick siesta.

“As humans, we all feel tired around the same time of day, 2 to 4 p.m,” says Smarr. “This depends on many factors, due to age, health, exercise routine, etc., and it’s completely natural to want to get some rest during this period,”

So the next time you’re looking to get some serious work done, take a step back from your desk, find a quiet corner (or even better, a comfortable cot), and take a quick catnap. It’s going to improve the quality of your work, and make you much more effective than if you just glossed over the problem with another greasy cup of work coffee.

Try it today and feel the lasting effects, good luck and happy sleeping.