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Benefits of Taking a CAT NAP (with Photo Gallery)

Updated on February 28, 2015

Punkin will take a catnap anywhere!

Do You Take Cat Naps?

Most of us have felt the need for a power nap or “cat nap” at one time or another. These much shorter than normal periods of sleep are meant to increase the benefits of our time versus the sleep deficit we may have accumulated. If we end our catnap prior to falling into a deeper sleep cycle, we will usually be revitalized.

Taking a cat nap can be done anywhere and usually not in bed.

As I thought about my previous statement, I was reminded how my one cat, Punkin, loves to sleep everywhere else except in her beds that I have provided in several places throughout the house.

GET COMFY AND ENJOY this little tour into “Punkin’s World” including much more interesting reading about the benefits of human cat naps!

Note: All photos in this article are the property of Sharyn's Slant.

Punkin taking a quick catnap on a pile of dirty laundry!

Where Did the Term "Cat Nap" Originate

The phrase cat nap comes from the short sleep cycles cats take all day long. Because cats first began life out in the wild where they had to protect themselves, they have inherited an instinct to remain somewhat alert at all times to sense danger. This has developed their ability to sleep for short periods of time.

An average adult cat sleeps approximately 15 hours per day total. While this time is about double that of humans, cats really only sleep deeply for 10-15 minutes at a time.

Punkin tends to take cat naps anywhere else but her cat beds . . . like the toolbox!

This would be called a POWER nap.
This would be called a POWER nap.

The Power Nap

American Social Psychologist and Professor at Cornell University, James Maas, coined the term “Power Nap.” He is known for his extensive research in the field of sleep and its relationship to performance.

Here is James Maas’ direct definition of a Power Nap in the Urban Dictionary: “A revitalizing, re-energizing, refreshing short, but powerful sleep, usually mid-day, which is especially good for those times when one still has lots of work to do, is very tired, and has only 20 minutes in which to get back their productive power.”

In his book, Power Sleep, Maas recommends 15-30 minute only power naps to be sure a person does not fall into a deeper phase of sleep. If there is a desire to sleep longer, he proposes napping at least 90 minutes to complete a full sleep cycle. Taking a nap that lasts in between 30-90 minutes leads to an interruption in the sleep cycle and the possibility of feeling more sleepy and sluggish when you awake.

Punkin taking a cat nap right on the desk during our work day!

Punkin taking a catnap in the "IN BOX."

Napping on the job ~ Punkin cat napping in a box of files! Like I said, she will sleep anywhere!

This is a favorite catnap spot for Punkin!

I finally put a small cat bed on top of my desk so Punkin would stay off the laptop!

Cat Napping on the Job

Obviously, Punkin knows that taking a cat nap during our work day can be very beneficial.

Every year, more and more businesses are learning the benefits of employees taking a cat nap during the work day. This strategy is thought to assist in maintaining alertness especially in jobs that have a high safety factor.

The idea of taking a cat nap or power nap during the work day is thought to be cutting edge by many. This concept prompted a midtown Manhattan company called YeloSpa to offer power naps (YeloNaps) to help workers rejuvenate during their work day. A 20-minute YeloNap starts at $17 with customized options for relaxation.

When the founder of Yarde Metals in Bristol, CT, built new office space for his manufacturing business in 1995, he also designed a napping room with couches. Although Craig Yarde admits that at first, people thought the idea was “completely nuts,” he is positive that providing a location and opportunity to take a nap has improved productivity. His business continues to grow to include additional facilities along the coast, all with napping rooms of course.

Interestingly, many job seekers today are finding that potential employers are offering the amenity of a nap room as part of their benefits package.

Amazon: Chaise Lounger

I found Punkin taking a catnap in the pantry!

Never know what you will find in the linen closet!

Cultural Differences and Mid-day Siestas

There are different cultural attitudes regarding napping during the work day. For example, people in Greece commonly break for lunch around 1 p.m. Following lunch, workers take a nap for a couple of hours. After their nap, it’s back to business as usual until 8 p.m. or later.

Many cultures serve their largest meal at midday. Taking what is known as a midday siesta following this meal is common. It is a time for rest before returning to work.

Midday siestas date back hundreds of years in climates such as in Spain where workers would resort to taking a nap during the hottest hours of the day and then continue working when the day cools down. Midday siestas seem to be a disappearing practice, though, with modern conveniences such as air conditioning.

Buttons & Punkin both catching 40 winks!

Why and How to Take a Cat Nap

Taking a cat nap is a great way to refresh ourselves. Researchers have found that people who take a nap improve their cognitive function. They are more alert, perform better and are more creative.

Before Your Nap: Be sure to go to the bathroom.

Length of Nap: It is important to be careful how long you actually doze. More than ½ hour can lead to sleep inertia, the lingering sluggish feeling after you awake.

Location of Nap: Find a quiet, dim-lit location without distractions to help you fall asleep faster. But don’t try to force the sleep. You can feel refreshed from just resting without sleeping.

Setting the Mood for Your Nap: Get into a comfortable position. Try to relax your mind, close your eyes and breathe gently.

If You Have Trouble Falling Asleep: Try listening to music designed especially to induce a sleep state.

Waking Up From Your Nap: If you are concerned that you will sleep longer than the suggested 15-30 minutes, set the alarm on your watch or cell phone.

Time for a catnap on top of the warm cable box!

A Word of Caution

For humans, naps during the day do not provide the same restorative benefits as continuous 6-8 hour periods of sleep. Therefore, brief napping should not be a substitute for regular sleep.

In addition, people with chronic insomnia or depression should consult their physician since napping could aggravate their already disrupted sleep patterns.

Punkin, my puurrrrty little cat napper!

This is my beautiful Peanut ~ she is very different from Punkin when it comes to understanding what is an appropriate cat bed for a catnap!



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A Cat Nap is NOT a Sign of Laziness

Increasingly, napping during the work day is being approached in a positive light. An extensive array of scientific data supports the fact that taking a proper nap improves the overall state of our mental and physical health.

It is currently 2:26 p.m. and I’m off to take a 15-minute cat nap! See you soon . . .

This is Sharyn’s Slant

Are You Allowed to Sleep on the Job?

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