Most lunchtimes you’ll find me in my car, grabbing 15 minutes of sleep. (Actually, I hope you won’t find me: it would be weird if someone literally caught me napping.)
But that’s the only quibble I have with my time in the SnoozeMobile, also known as the Z Car. Even though I don’t nap for long enough to sleep deeply, those 15 minutes noticeably improve my mood, alertness, and productivity for the rest of the afternoon.
Many cultures around the world feature afternoon siestas, and a list of famous nappers from history includes Napoleon, Edison, Leonardo, and Winston Churchill, who said, “Nature had not intended mankind to work from 8 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.” I agree!
Lack of sleep can also be bad for your health. A CBC news story reported that the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey found that many people average less than five hours of sleep a night.
“The foundations of good health are good diet, good exercise and good sleep, but two out of three doesn’t get you there,” said Dr. Anne Calhoun, a neurology professor at the University of North Carolina (reported in the same CBC article).
Dr. Sara C. Mednick, the author of a 2007 book entitled “Take a nap! Change Your Life,” said napping “helps with memory processing, alertness, and learning new skills. We live with less than our recommended eight hours, and that means so many things — decreased sex drive, decreased productivity, and fatigue-related accidents. Napping helps with all of these things” (quoted on this site). Likewise, this Health Canada publication discusses the benefits of naps for shift workers (open the PDF and search for “nap”).
And if you’re contemplating a car catnap (Ford-y winks?) in this hot weather, please remember to crack your windows and choose a shady parking spot.
What do you think about naps? Are you a napper? Post a comment and tell us!
About Anne Scott
Anne is a communications officer at Northern Health; she lives in Prince George with her husband Andrew Watkinson. Her current health goals are to do a pull-up and more than one consecutive “real” push-up. She also dreams of becoming a master’s level competitive sprinter and finding a publisher for her children’s book on colourblindness. Anne enjoys cycling, cross-country skiing, reading, writing, sugar-free chocolate, and napping -- sometimes all on the same day!