Let’s Hear It for the Siesta, Riposo, Afternoon Snooze, or Power Nap

Big yawn, anticipating a nice siesta.
Big yawn, anticipating a nice siesta. | Source
I"m getting sleepy...
I"m getting sleepy... | Source
Saying my prayers before I drift off...
Saying my prayers before I drift off... | Source
Totally relaxed.
Totally relaxed. | Source
Zzzzzzzzzzzz.... | Source

Whatever name you choose, there is a long tradition in favor of a short nap in the afternoon. Many cultures favor a short mid-day sleep, often after a big meal, especially in hot climates.

Popular for centuries, modern day science now also acknowledges the benefits of catching some Zzzz, with the recommended length between 15-30 minutes. According to various studies, it is preferable to stay within the first two of the four main stages of the sleep cycle. Stages One and Two are a light sleep; Stage Three is getting into deep sleep and Stage Four is REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep where most dreaming begins.

When we stay in the 15-30 minute range, we can wake refreshed and rejuvenated, and not only feel more rested, but we often experience increased productivity and enhanced cognitive functioning. If we go beyond 30 minutes it can be harder to wake up, we can feel groggy and it can also interrupt our nighttime sleep.

So it seems that there is real value in mid-day snoozes, and the key is not to nap too long.

According to an article in the Atlanta Blackstar, September 2, 2012,

“Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy all have one thing in common: daily mid-afternoon naps. Linked with clarity, increased performance, memory, mood and even heart health, naps are an economical (and fun) way to boost mental and physical health.”

The history, the science and the believers seem clear. For me, there are two additional indicators that are both convincing and compelling that napping is a very good thing to do. It is seen in the innate wisdom of puppies and children.

As the author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum explains, “Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”

Duke, my Wire-hair Fox Terrier, really enjoys naps and highly recommends them. What better authority could one have?

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Comments 8 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

If Duke recommends it then that's good enough for me. :)

Interesting research. I haven't had a power nap since Thanksgiving, but that's traditional, right?

Have a great weekend, Linda!

Linda Compton profile image

Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment Author

Thanks, Sir William! Duke asked me to suggest that you try it for a week and report back to us. Once a year is not enough! Blessings, my friend. L.

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Very well said, Linda. These are things that I cannot do during a normal work day, but if I have a short day, all I need to do is read for a bit, and I am out like a light. It really does work wonders, and usually is for about ten minutes.

Linda Compton profile image

Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment Author

Thanks for sharing that, Deb. Ten minutes is a terrific power nap! Good for you. I hope you'll treat yourself as often as you can! Cheers, L.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Cheers for the power nap. I do them now more often than before, but they've always worked for me. My "real value time" is about ten minutes. I think they should be allowed once a day on the job! (Ha, ha.)

Linda Compton profile image

Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment Author

Ah, Ms. Dora, it doesn't surprise me that you are aware of these benefits and honor this practice! Good for you :o)

There are some companies that actually have rooms set up with couches and encourage brief naps. I think ten minutes is optimum for many of us! Thanks for sharing your experience with us! L.

Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Linda,

There is nothing like a nap to rejuvenate us. Duke is adorable!

Take care :)

Linda Compton profile image

Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment Author

Thank you, Sueswan! Bless your heart :o)

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