Have you ever wanted to substitute your lunch break for a power nap, but instead reached for yet another cup of coffee? You might want to consider skipping the caffeine and taking a snooze. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) asserts that naps can increase alertness, enhance performance and improve mood. According to NSF “a study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.” So, a nap might benefit more than those late nights in the office.
In America, people stigmatize napping as an activity associated with laziness and children; but, in many countries including China, Italy, India and Spain, the majority of people take midday naps. NSF points out that “more than 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day.” (Now I understand why my cat sleeps so much.) Just because the majority of mammals are polyphasic sleepers doesn’t mean that we humans need start sleeping throughout the day as well, but it does provide evidence that it is natural to want to sleep during points in the day despite having a full night’s sleep.