Napping: NASA approves

Napping has been in the news lately. Turns out naps are good things. That prompted my friend Laurie Vincent–a long-time proselytizer for the power of napping–to pen this guest post (after a refreshing nap, of course).

Napping child, PeruNo Shame in Napping–Nod Off Now & Then

By Laurie Vincent

Thomas Edison is my hero; he napped every day.

Or maybe it was Einstein. One of those “E” inventors. Whoever it was would lie down holding a ping-pong ball. When he was sufficiently relaxed, the ball dropped to the floor and woke him up. Plink!

Yep — Tom and me. (Or was it Albert?) We have a lifelong love of napping. In my book, more sleep is always better.
Now comes word from the University of Rochester that sleep is actually a housekeeping mechanism. It clears away damaging waste from the brain. The risk of forgoing enough brain-cleaning time? Alzheimer’s. Parkinsons. At the very least, poor judgment. Lack of self control. Crabbiness.


Spontaneous Napping

To those annoying people who say they need only five or six hours, Tom and I say, “Ha!” Take a look at such people. They are playing a dangerous game.

I studied creative writing with the novelist John Gardner. When we pined for more time to write, he said to cut down on sleeping.

“Eight hours is an indulgence,” he’d say. “You can train yourself!”

After publishing more than 30 books, he died in a motorcycle accident. His fiancé said he was exhausted from overwork.

Margaret Thatcher was famous for needing only four hours of sleep each night. But in her later years, she suffered from severe dementia. The woman who almost rebuilt the British Empire couldn’t hold an entire sentence in her head.

Martha Stewart says she needs less than four hours of sleep. Was she suffering from sleep deprivation when she bought stock on an insider’s tip? A full night’s sleep could have prevented 17 months in prison.

During his presidency, Bill Clinton routinely got by on five hours. Hmmm. What will it be? A good night’s rest? Or an “inappropriate relationship” with “that woman”  and a sullied legacy?

Donald Trump claims that three hours per night is the secret to his competitive edge. For the argument that poor judgment threatens his reputation, I have one hyphenated word: comb-over.

Better to get eight hours of sleep. And take a nice long nap, too.


Harvard Business Review:  Adapted from “To Strengthen Your Attention Span, Stop Overtaxing It” by Daniel Goleman.

World-class competitors, from athletes to pianists, limit the arduous part of their practice routine to a maximum of about four hours each day. Rest is an equally important part of their training regimen, to restore their physical and mental energy. Without rest, our brains grow more depleted, often signified by distractedness, irritability, and fatigue.

The Case for Taking a Nap at Work: The NASA Studies on Napping Guest post by Nick Meyer on Meyer, creator of the world’s first Napping Mask, is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of the mask.
In the 1980s and 1990s, NASA and the FAA were studying whether or not in-cockpit napping could improve the job performance and safety of pilots flying long haul routes. … The NASA team concluded that naps provided a 34% increase in pilot performance and 100% increase in physiological alertness.

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