America, It's Time for Your Nap

A workday snooze can relieve sleep deprivation and boost your productivity.

From the WebMD Archives


Why Not Nap?

If you're plugging away at a deadline, sleep may indeed be your only option. As your eyelids grow heavy, it's too late to fight it. Caffeine can help mask it, but only temporarily.

"When you're sleep deprived, you do get sleepy," says Rosekind. "That signal is so powerful that, if you ignore it, your body will shut down and you will sleep anyway."

Anthony has spoken with employers: "You let people have bathroom breaks, smoking breaks, walk breaks. Why can't they nap on their break instead of lunch or shop? What we're pushing is a simple policy, really: You can do anything on break as long as it isn't immoral or illegal, and that includes napping."

"Union regulations always demand rest breaks," says James Maas, PhD, past chairman of psychology at Cornell University. He has written the book Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance.

The results of chronic sleep deprivation are evident, he says.

"We're arguing that in terms of lifestyle, efficiency, and performance, taking a deep breath in the middle of the day -- a short nap -- is a good idea. Power lunches are accepted, why not power naps? Every worker is allowed a break in afternoon, why not make it something that restores mental health and performance?"

We learned it in kindergarten: A nice afternoon nap is just that -- nice. It makes us less cranky and helps us get back into the fray. It's possibly the best way to combat chronic sleep deprivation in today's world.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD


SOURCES: William Anthony, PhD, clinical psychologist and director, Boston University's Center for Psychological Rehabilitation. Mark Rosekind, PhD, board member, National Sleep Foundation; head of Alertness Solutions, Cupertino, Calif. Robert Stickgold, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Harvard Medical School. James Maas, PhD, past chairman of psychology, Cornell University. WebMD Feature: "Sleep: More Important Than You Think."

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