Today is national napping day! Who doesn’t want a nap? Remember all those naps during morning brush, disguised post lunch power naps on the office desk, those tired naps on the bus home with music on? Napping is an innate primate tendency and does not have an age bar. It is an integral part of the day, too, and is considered by experts as a necessary physical and psychological boost. Great minds such as Einstein, Edison and Dali have benefited from naps. It seems an odd nap here and there concretes the mind. Don’t be chaffed just yet, a nap should be more than half an hour.
Scientist claim naps can increase analytic ability, reaction times and faster recognition of symbols as well as develop a lucid memory. Unlike many other mammals, humans sleep just once a day and so we are sometimes prone to sleeping deficiencies. There are different set of naps. Scientists claim a six-minute power nap is the best as it boosts declarative memory. A ten to twenty-minute nap is good too, because it increase mental and physical alertness. The least preferred nap is the long thirty or more minute one though, as it can result in assisting cognitive memory. A study from 2008 indicated that naps are often better than caffeine consumption to stay focused and alert. It is also proven that a good nap can control the blood pressure. Researchers say longer naps often lead to dreams. Remember the Freud line “Dreams are the guardians of sleep and not its disturbers?”
No one is immune to bad moods and a power nap can make moods better. If fatigue is a problem, doctors say a nap can help too. Everyone needs a breather during a heavy work load. Naps are not always rosy; they have their glitches. Research also shows people with insomnia can worsen the problem from day naps, creating adverse affects such as night-time sleep imbalances. Famous myths about the nap include Albert Einstein, who apparently had an ultra power nap before he invented E=MC^2! Much later he said of naps, “the dreams in them help me to invent, also refreshes the mind.” Sportsmen too love to take an afternoon nap. The famous New York Yankee baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, ” I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four!”
In olden times, afternoon napping was common and it had a name too: siesta. Siesta originated in Spain and shops, museum and churches were closed briefly during the afternoon to facilitate the employees to follow Siesta tradition. Soon, this Spanish tradition followed with the crusades to Hispanic America and Philippines. This practice started by the Spanish as a counter for hot temperatures. Back in the day, a nap was also consider art of manliness, a status quo for the gentleman. In Indian tradition though, an afternoon nap for men meant they would learn the art of belly growing! Most often than not heavy nappers could not look down on their toes, thanks to the belly.
On a whole, if you think a nap is a deterrent, think again. National napping day is celebrated for a reason!
Opinion By Vikas Vemuri