Health benefits of power napping

Published November 22, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

    Nelly Favis-Villafuerte
Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

I got interested to know more about napping (short sleep usually during daylight hours as differentiated from the usual hours of sleep at night) when I read a story some months about a doctor who dozed off while standing at a podium and giving his lecture at a conference. In short, he fell asleep mid-speech, his body slouching over the podium as he tilted forward. After a while, he woke up and continued his speech as if nothing happened. The good news is that nobody in the audience seemed to mind the pause due to the snoozing of the lecturer. A friend of the lecturer later revealed that the lecturer normally takes a nap or two regularly every day.

Let’s admit it. Many of us become drowsy and fall asleep at one time or another. Many times in unexpected places.

One may ask: Is napping healthful? Let me share with you some interesting information about napping which I have researched in the internet:

Do you know that there are many great men in history who are nappers? Leonardo da Vinci of the Mona Lisa fame preferred to have several short naps every few hours to hours of nightly rest. Also, Napoleon Bonaparte, the great French soldier napped between battles while sitting on his horse. Thomas Edison, the famous scientist was also a napper; and so with Bill Clinton while President of the United States;

Do you know that we all need sleep. It is a basic need. But the amount of sleep needed to stay healthy varies according to age and individual;

Do you know that sleep deprivation/loss has a degenerative effect on our health;

Do you know that the so-called power nap of 20 minutes or less increases our motor skills, improves our overall alertness, boosts our mood and increases our productivity;

Do you know that countries where siestas are common tend to have lower levels of heart disease. A study in Greece of 23,681 persons who had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer – and who volunteered for a test where they took a 30-minute siesta at least three times a week revealed that they had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death;

Do you know that according to some studies, power napping is beneficial to someone who is a normal sleeper but who is getting insufficient sleet at night. There are also studies that confirm that the alertness of people who sleep eight hours a night vis-à-vis people who sleep less but took a nap during the day are the same. This shows that sleep time is cumulative;

Do you know that it is better to take a nap in the morning or just after lunch rather than take a nap in the late afternoons. It is also advisable to wear an eyeshade while taking a nap because darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone;

Do you know that a study from the University of California in San Diego, USA says that without enough sleep, the number and effectiveness of immune cells decrease;

Do you know that a recent University of Chicago report reveals that lack of sleep can promote calcium build-up in heart arteries. This build-up, in turn, can lead to heart attack and stroke. The report further found that as little as an hour less sleep than we really need can increase coronary calcium levels by 16 percent;

Do you know that the late Winston Churchill, who said that he had to nap in order to cope with his wartime responsibilities once made this remark: “Nature had not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces”;

Do you know that the habit of napping was very prevalent during the ancient nomadic times. As a matter of security, necessity and protection, the ancient tribes/groups slept in multiple short periods over a 24-hour stretch. It was dangerous for the entire group to sleep for long periods of time without someone keeping watch of predators. The habit stayed on in modern civilization.

Yes, my dear readers, napping is not a lazy man’s habit.

Have a joyful day!

(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected])