Napping Makes You Happier

Call it a siesta, forty winks, or shut-eye. Or be cool and call it a micro or power nap.

NapWhatever name you use, it turns out a short nap can make you happier. We knew that all along, right?

I mean, there’s a reason my yoga mat fondly reminds me of the napping mat we had in kindergarten – so I always feel like ditching exercising for a quick snooze.

Recent research shows that taking naps of less than 30 minutes improves our sense of well-being, as well as boosting performance. More than 1,000 people took part in the study, conducted for the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

You don’t have to tell me twice. I’m so good at napping I can do it with my eyes closed!

Says Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire (who truly is a wise man like his name in my opinion): “Previous research has shown that naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creative, and these new findings suggest … that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap.”

In other words, combine nap and happier – and let’s all get nappier!

nap businesswomanEmployers take note. Another study by NASA on sleepy military pilots found that taking a 26-minute nap while the co-pilot was in control boosted alertness by more than 50 percent. Doesn’t everyone want more productive and happier employees? So, if you catch us sleeping at the desk – leave us alone!

Actually, a lot of famous people have been known to nap.

Albert Einstein claimed he needed daytime naps to fuel his marvelous brain.

JFK enjoyed afternoon naps with his lovely wife by his side. Jackie even advised his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, to take up the habit.

And Leonardo DaVinci believed in 15 minute naps every four hours. On the other hand, DaVinci didn’t believe in sleeping much at night, claiming we all have lots of time to sleep after we die. Now that’s a depressing thought. Let’s move on.

In fact, there is a downside to this napping study. The research found that those who took longer naps were less happy than those who did not nap at all. Sorry to say, too much napping is associated with an 82 percent increase in the risk of heart disease.

Go ahead, pop my bubble.

As a Minion meme states: “Naps are tricky because you either wake up refreshed and relaxed or you have a headache, dry throat and you are unaware of what year you’re in.”

True, true. But still, I’m sticking with the main message of this study that shows a short power nap will make you happier. I’m a believer!

Images courtesy of FrameAngel and imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

8 thoughts on “Napping Makes You Happier

  1. Marquita Herald

    I think naps are great but I won’t pretend they come easy for me. When I feel I need a break I normally head outside with my dog. But when snow is on the ground, or it’s just cold and rainy (like it is this morning!) then curling up for an afternoon nap is much more inviting.

    Reply
    1. juliegorges Post author

      Actually, I have to be exhausted to be able to nap, but when it happens, I feel so much better. Ready to tackle the world again! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Reply
  2. Vatsala Shukla

    My optimal nap time is 20 minutes, Julie, otherwise I experience the Law of Diminishing Returns and tons of disorientation. I got into the habit of Sunday siesta when I was in residential school and a Sunday nap is now a ritual.

    I find a power nap helps provided I do it during a particular time frame post lunch.

    Reply
  3. Suzie Cheel

    I am getting better at napping- when I feel the energy sagging I now give my back a heat treat and this gives me time to nap and i feel energised- thanks for the reminder xxx

    Reply
  4. Summer Price

    As a mother of 5, I take a nap whenever I can get it! I guess on the bright side it is lucky for me I never get a long one. Although, at the moment I don’t find it too lucky 😀

    Reply
    1. juliegorges Post author

      Five kids! I am more than impressed. You are right to take a nap whenever you can grab on to re-energize. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

      Reply

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