In Praise of Naps

June 26, 2008 by  
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naps.jpgI knew it all along, but now the Boston Globe has verified it. Naps are good for you.

And it seems with our recent article here on Battling Cancer about sleep that tells us insomnia is considered one of the most serious side effects of cancer–

45% to 50% of all cancer patients deal with disturbances of sleep–that naps are a great idea for cancer patients.

A study released by the Harvard School of Public Health and in Athens reported that Greeks who took regular 30-minute siestas were 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease over a six-year period than those who never napped. The scientists tracked more than 23,000 adults, finding that the benefits of napping were most pronounced for working men. Source: Boston Globe

The National Sleep Foundation lists three types of naps:

  • Planned napping-preparatory napping-taking a nap before an event or when you know you must stay up late
  • Emergency napping-when you are suddenly very tired and cannot keep your eyes open
  • Habitual napping-occurs at the same time every day (my cat or your toddler)

How To Nap?

Check out this graphic by Josua Schwimmer MD:

The chart explains how to nap for the napping challenged.


Since Da Vinci, Einstein and Edison all were known nappers it might be a good idea to take this seriously.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends napping at:

  • The right length: A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.
  • The right environment: Your surroundings can greatly impact your ability to fall asleep. Make sure that you have a restful place to lie down and that the temperature in the room is comfortable. Try to limit the amount of noise heard and the extent of the light filtering in. While some studies have shown that just spending time in bed can be beneficial, it is better to try to catch some zzz’s.
  • The right time: If you take a nap too late in the day, it might affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. If you try to take it too early in the day, your body may not be ready for more sleep.”

So what are we waiting for? Got your blanket? Ipod?

Let’s zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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