Why We Should Celebrate National Napping Day Every Day

By Lauryn Page | 03/13/2017

Daylight Savings Time was introduced in the early 1900s as a way to allow the workforce greater utilization of natural light, prior to the widespread use of electricity. In today’s modern world there is debate over whether it’s still beneficial, but many can agree the impact is often felt in sleep patterns.

In an effort to address the sleep shortage associated with the time change, William Anthony, Ph. D proposed National Napping Day. This unofficial holiday was created in 1999 to highlight the benefits of getting quality sleep, and the use of mid-afternoon naps to make up for shortened sleep cycles. He advocated for sleep rooms and the permission for workers to take 20-minute nap breaks during the workday as a way to recharge and restore sleep cycles for American workers.

Naps boost productivity

Napping can restore alertness, help quickly recover from distractions, improve memory functions, and decrease stress. Studies show that employees make better decisions and fewer mistakes after indulging in a quick snooze during the day. A few companies, like Google, have taken notice of the benefits and provide napping areas for their employees who need a recharge. Unfortunately, napping is still associated with laziness, lack of ambition, and low standards.

How long should a nap be?

Naps provide different benefits depending on how long they are. Experts suggest a mid-day nap should last no more than 45 minutes. However, a short nap of even 20 minutes will enhance alertness and concentration, mood, and coordination. Any longer than 45 minutes, and you will end up in the deeper levels of REM sleep, which enhances creativity but can leave you feeling groggy.

How much sleep do you need?

Several studies point out the need for 6-8 hours of quality sleep. Poor sleeping patterns impairs cognitive functions and behavior, including attention, brain speed, memory, and decision making. The effects do vary from person to person and there are those that exist on as little rest as their bodies can handle. Eventually the lack of sleep will catch up to them. Sleep deprivation can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia and chronic diseases such as heart disease and obesity.

Effects of sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation also affects another important part of everyday life: your job. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation costs American companies at least $63.2 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. Most people experience fatigue around 2:30 in the afternoon due to natural sleep rhythms. Your body's natural sleep cycle starts to kick in after waking up early to battle traffic for work. To your body, a nap is the most natural daily occurrence but it may not coincide with a busy schedule

If you have difficulty focusing on work, chances are your body is begging for a nap. When that afternoon slump hits, taking a quick 10 – 20-minute snooze can help push you through those last few hours of work and keep your productive. Do you have trouble nodding off in strange places? Listening to white noise or using one of these nap gadgets could have you dozing off in no time.

 

Resources:
http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/2015/03/08/march-9-2015-national-napping-day-national-meatball-day-national-barbie-day-national-crab-meat-day-national-get-over-it-day/
https://sleep.org/articles/sleeping-work-companies-nap-rooms-snooze-friendly-policies/
https://qz.com/424120/our-poor-sleeping-habits-could-be-filling-our-brains-with-neurotoxins/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/napping-at-work_us_56ddbd65e4b0000de4054a0c
http://www.brainfacts.org/about-neuroscience/ask-an-expert/articles/2015/what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-are-sleep-deprived/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/26/revealed-why-our-brains-get-so-tired-in-the-afternoon---and-how/