Sunday, June 16, 2013

Naps for All

Alley napping on a comfy paper bag

I come from a family of nappers. My mother could fall asleep at the drop of a hat, likewise my sister,  my cat is a well documented napper and I am no exception. My friend Andrew claims that Winston Churchill maintained his edge in WWII by daily napping. Naps are delicious. And now our penchant for dozing is encouraged by none other than the authoritative Dr. Andrew Weil, a world-renowned leader and pioner in the field of integrative medicine. I receive Dr Weil's "Daily Tips" via email and rarely is there a post that is not informative and fascinating. Even though his daily emails clog my inbox and I resist, I can't skip a day. My husband Dean saves the tips in a Dr.Weil folder because all the information seems too important to erase. Most articles like "Five reasons to eat raspberries" or "Wondering how to use witch hazel?" can be relegated to the  the Dr. Weil folder, but some posts like "The warning signs of heart attack or stroke for women, I keep on my desktop... Anyway, yesterday he addressed the question "Is napping healthy?" and to my delight, here is what he said:

"Studies on sleep and the opinions of sleep experts are convincing: napping has value. People who nap generally enjoy better mental health and mental efficiency than people who do not. The quality of their nighttime sleep tends to be better as well. Unfortunately, finding opportunities to rest during daylight hours in our society is not so easy - the North American culture is actively opposed to the whole concept, bombarding us with stimulation in more and more places and times.

If you want to embrace the concept of napping - as many cultures worldwide do - consider the following:
  1. Accept napping as a positive thing. Remind yourself frequently that napping can make a day more productive - it is actually the opposite of being lazy.
  2. Do not fight the body's desire to nap. This will result in unpleasant or unproductive naps.
  3. Take naps when you can. If your schedule does not permit a nap every day, consider taking productive naps as a passenger in cars, trains, and airplanes.
  4. Consider time and duration. Napping for too long, too often, or at the wrong time of day can be counterproductive. See what length and schedule works best for you.
  5. Napping can mean just taking a break. Lying on a hammock or just staring into space is the essence of rest - it is not doing that refreshes you in body and mind."
           "I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it's not a waste of time"–Martha Stewart
                       Dr . Weil, my cat and my grandnephew Jonah view napping quite differently:

Take naps when you can, in cars, trains, planes and-----boxes

Accept napping as a positive thing, it's the opposite of being lazy

Take naps with a friend


  1. AWEEE I adore this post!! I don't get to nap (my life is far too crazy, busy for that right now) but I tend to fall asleep instantly when I am in a moving vehicle, on a couch, or while watching a movie. My mom and I joked that we were narcoleptic when we were traveling together in Europe because we would both struggled to keep our eyes open when we were on a tour bus and were supposed to be sightseeing NOT cat napping ;-)

  2. Yes Hali, you're entering marathons and I'm considering napping. What different stages we're in right now! But that's what makes life interesting, n'est ce pas? I seem to remember that the Hershey handbook threatened dismissal if an employee fell asleep on the job. That always kind of worried a born napper like me.

  3. haha!!! That would have been hilarious.. fired for napping!!!! :-) Yes, it is great to appreciate the stage of life you are in.

  4. Thanks for this informative, sweet and loving post on napping.