Most of us have heard about napping and it is usually associated with Sleep and daytime.
Why would we have a National Napping Day to bring awareness about the benefits of taking a nap?
Where does the world Nap come from originally?
What does the dictionary say to us about naps?
What does Google tell us about this napping stuff?
What is the meaning of Nap?
Oxford English Dictionary (Lexico)
Sleep lightly or briefly, especially during the day
A short sleep, especially during the day
From middle English nappen – have a short sleep, be sleepy, be inattentive or careless
from Old English hnappian to doze, slumber, sleep lightly
short spell of sleep, especially during daylight hours (2)
So the dictionary is telling us it’s a short sleep and generally in the daytime.
The origin of the word nap is telling us a short sleep in daylight hours and that it has been around for centuries and that means thousands of years ago.
So, what has changed since the 14th century?
WHY are we less interested in this nap business in modern 21st century?
Is it because not being interested is designed to not evolve us?
Could it be possible we are avoiding the state of rest – call it repose, that a nap can give us, because it conveniently keeps us away from going there?
Could it be possible that our ancestors valued the short moment of sleep during daylight hours to recharge, rejuvenate, repose, regenerate and re-vitalise their natural state of being, because back in those days they had no screen time and other lifestyle distractions?
National Napping Day – 9 March 2020
Dr. William Anthony – Boston University professor and his wife started observing National Napping Day in 1999 to encourage people to nap and take advantage of its health benefits.
The day was chosen because this particular Monday is when Americans are more ‘nap-ready’ than usual, after losing an hour of sleep to daylight savings time.
According to William Anthony, there are 8 benefits to napping, including no cost and improved mood and performance. (3)
- Improves mood – makes you feel better
- Improves performance – makes you more productive
- Is no cost – no expensive clothes or equipment needed
- No sweat and no shower needed
- Is self-prescribed – no doctor’s orders needed
- Is non-fattening – you cannot eat while napping
- Is non-invasive procedure – no one does anything to you
- Has no dangerous side effects – unless you are driving (4)
The goal is to encourage people to take a nap wherever they may be – at home, the workplace or on vacation and make it a regular part of their healthy lifestyle.
It is a day when nappers all over the country need to lie down and be counted.
William Anthony (3)
Note this particular day was chosen because of daylight savings time.
What does that tell us about human beings today?
We know back in the old days people used the natural rhythms and cycles to support their health and well being and napping was a part of that natural process.
A university professor is telling us that there are some great benefits.
No cost – FREE
We all seem to like something when it is free but we tend to associate that with material things.
We are not geared or programmed to value and accept the enormous benefits of napping.
We know babies and very young children do as that is simply part of their process of growing and developing.
The fact that it improves our mood speaks volumes.
Let’s examine this a bit more in detail to make it relatable.
How many people do we come across in our day, on public transport, at work, at the shopping mall, supermarket, hair salon, in the community and town centre where we sense the mood OR we are at the receiving end of their mood?
How often do we wake up with a mood that we simply cannot shake off or our partner next to us is moody?
How many times do we dread the communication with friends, family and neighbours because we know their state of mind is moody?
How do we deal with our moody kids and have we ever even considered that things could be different if they swapped the smartphone for a nap?
It is great to have a national day to bring awareness, but taking a reality check – we need to use this day to take small steps and introduce napping into our daily life and be sensible about it.
That means being wise about when we can and when we cannot nap.
Common sense would really work for this one and that means it is not possible to nap during a busy shift at work or any work day where we are needed to be alert, active and switched on, so to speak.
However, making sure we nap on our days off is important and planning this into our day would greatly benefit.
What we would need to do is knock out those silly thoughts about if we nap during the daytime it will affect our sleep at night.
Common sense would also say don’t overdo the nap and sleep for too long. Listen to our body, as it knows best.
So if we feel really tired after a nap, it is a sure sign our body is communicating to us and saying –
“Listen up, early nights every single day until we nail this and cut out the Alcohol, Sugar, Caffeine, Screen Time and all other stimulants and nonsense, so we can rest properly and deeply”.
If we want to put this to the test, it is very Simple.
Have a go and cut out the list of stimulants above and see if it is possible to stay awake and if so, for how long.
Many of us are not even aware of how tired and exhausted our body is from the constant bombardment of lifestyle choices that are not serving the human frame and yet we just continue until the body breaks down.
In other words, something has to happen and then we are forced to stop, like an illness.
8% mammalian species sleep for short periods throughout the day.
Humans are part of the minority because our days are clearly divided into 2 distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness.
It is not clear that this is the natural sleep patterns of humans. (5)
WHY are we being told that it is “not clear that this is the natural sleep pattern for humans”?
Young children and the elderly are known to nap.
It is also a very important aspect of many cultures.
A short nap of 20 – 30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
Winston Churchill was known to have valued an afternoon nap. (5)
Interesting that Winston Churchill was known for having an afternoon nap and we all know the great worth of this man and what he was able to achieve in his lifetime.
Could it be possible that his ‘alertness and performance’ had something to do with his rest moments during the afternoon?
Could it be possible that he used his afternoon naps to lead and unite us in a way that history has never quite done since?
Could it be possible that Winston Churchill was living ahead of our times and we could learn something from him by valuing afternoon naps as he did back then?
Could it be possible the wisdom that poured through this man during a very difficult time in history was more accessible because he took time out to rest and repose, which means napping?
Interesting that many cultures see napping as a very important aspect.
Are those of us who do not see napping as important, the ones who are creating the demand for sleeping solutions, which has become a multi billion dollar industry?
Interesting that young children and the elderly have napping as a natural part of their life.
Interesting that the majority of us have no interest in this napping stuff.
Is it a co incidence that the masses do not value or think napping is worth it and at the same time we have a sleeping aids industry that is almost worth one trillion dollars?
That is $1,000,000,000,000
Can we go back and re-read what has just been said?
Let’s simply join the dots here – we have a trillion dollar industry designed to find Solutions to help us sleep and yet there is a natural way to support our sleep and it is free and that means no money to spend, but we just don’t go there. WHY?
Planned napping (also called preparatory napping) involves taking a nap before you actually get sleepy.
This technique is used when you know you will be up later than your normal bed time or as a mechanism to ward off getting tired earlier.
Emergency napping occurs when you are suddenly very tired and cannot continue with the activity you were originally engaged in.
This type of nap can be used to combat drowsy driving or fatigue while using heavy and dangerous machinery.
Habitual napping is practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time each day. Young children may fall asleep at about the same time each afternoon or an adult might take a short nap after lunch each day. (5)
Do we wait for fatigue to set in before we will consider having a nap?
Is that not too late, as our body was tired a long time ago and we found our way to function and ignore that first sign?
Was our first cup of Coffee telling us that we need this legal drug to alter our natural state because we need stimulation?
In other words, we need the pick up and acceleration that Caffeine gives us to actually get going in the morning or during the daytime.
Do we trash our life and do what we want – the usual stay up late, watch TV, drink Alcohol, party party, work overtime, eat way too much Junk Food, keep checking our Social Media and then feel whacked during the day and find a moment when we could nap, but that head of ours is not switching off?
We want to just instruct and command the brain to stop and shut up, but those thoughts just keep coming in.
Is it possible that we cannot just switch off and demand our body to go into sleep mode with a quick nap when we have been driving it with stimulations and distractions that first need to be addressed?
Is it possible that the reactions we have don’t just go away because we decide to have a quick nap?
What if we added another sub heading for Nap Types?
Nap when you can – no big deal.
This simply means we make it our Number One Priority on any given day.
Any Day Off we plan and make sure a nap is in there at some point.
If our work patterns change or something happens and we find ourselves at home, then we ensure a nap is planned into that day.
We do not ignore or override this priority by changing our plans to avoid taking the nap.
We do not deviate or digress from this important schedule in our diary.
On a practical note, we could set the alarm or reminder on our phone to alert us its “nap time” and we make sure we are ready.
Planning for a nap could mean setting the space we want to nap in.
It does not have to be in the bed, if there is space elsewhere that we would prefer for a daytime nap.
The Sleep Foundation tell us on their website –
A short nap of 20 – 30 minutes is usually recommended for short term alertness.
This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with night time sleep.
- Sleep environment can greatly impact the ability to fall asleep.
- Make sure you have a restful place to lie down and the temperature is comfortable.
- Limit noise levels and the extent of the light filtering into the room.
Taking a nap too late in the day can affect night time sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at regular bedtime.
Taking a nap too early could mean that the body may not be ready for more Sleep.
Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance and reduce Mistakes and accidents.
34% improved performance
NASA Study on sleepy military pilots and astronauts taking a 40 minute nap
Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those affected by narcolepsy.
Most drivers are aware that driving while sleepy is extremely dangerous.
However, many push their body when they feel drowsy despite the risks.
It is ideal to get a full night’s sleep before driving.
Taking a short nap before driving can reduce the risk of having a drowsy driving crash.
This is important and worth taking note.
NASA has done a study and it shows 100% alertness after just a 40 minute nap and the knock on effect is that it improves performance.
We could call this a no brainer.
In other words, why on earth would we not apply this even if we are not pilots or astronauts?
Imagine seeing less accidents or making less mistakes simply because we find the time and space for our 40 minute nap.
Imagine the benefits to society as a whole if we all started subscribing to the napping bandwagon and swapping it with the Social Media checking and all the plethora of distractions we now have in our modern society.
Imagine if we could increase alertness just by napping and not a Caffeine drink.
What would happen to our Coffee industry and what would happen to our health and well being in the long term?
Shift work may cause fatigue and performance impairments, especially night shift workers as the working schedule deviates from the typical “9 to 5” hours.
Whilst research has shown that napping is a beneficial way to relieve tiredness, it still has stigmas associated to it.
Napping indicates laziness, lack of ambition and low standards.
Napping is for children, the elderly and those who are sick.
The above statements are false and our general public need to be educated on the benefits of napping. (5)
Is it time to knock out the nonsense like napping means we are lazy or have low standards?
Why do we subscribe to fleeting thoughts that have no regard for the human body?
Where did this utter nonsensical information that gets fed to us inside our heads come from and why would we give it any attention when common sense tells us it is a load of rubbish?
We are being told that these silly statements are false and yet we still believe in them, so how is that and WHY?
Do the thoughts that tell us these false statements keep us away from our natural state, which is what will support our true health and well being?
And finally, on the above section – the general public need to be educated on the benefits of napping.
On that note, the author of this blog and this website is presenting not just about napping, but everything there is to possibly know and understand about sleep in a very simple and relatable way.
The purpose of this is to educate the general public and not alarm, but bring awareness, so that we can learn and understand that there is Another Way to support our body and how super important sleep is for our natural state of being.
Once or Twice Weekly Daytime Nap linked to Lower Heart Attack/Stroke Risk
Research published online in the journal Heart states that a daytime nap taken once or twice a week may lower the risk of having a heart attack/stroke.
No such association emerged for either greater frequency or duration of naps.
The impact of napping on heart health has been hotly contested.
Many of the published studies on the topic have failed to consider napping frequency or focused purely on cardiovascular disease deaths or compared regular nappers with those not opting for a mini siesta say researchers.
To address these issues, the researchers looked at the association between napping frequency and average nap duration and the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease ‘events’ such as heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
Participants aged between 35 and 75 were randomly selected and recruited between 2003 and 2006. Their first check up took place between 2009 and 2012, when information on their sleep and nap patterns in the previous week was collected and their health was then subsequently monitored for an average of 5 years.
58% did not nap during the previous week.
Those who were napping 3 – 7 times a week were older, male, smokers, overweight and slept longer at night, than those who said they did not nap during the day.
They also reported more daytime sleepiness and more severe obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition in which the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.
155 fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease ‘events’ – during monitoring period.
48% – less associated with heart attack, stroke or heart failure risk by napping once or twice weekly.
This association held true after taking account of potentially influential factors –
- Night time sleep duration
- Other cardiovascular risks – High Blood Pressure / Cholesterol
It did not change after factoring in excessive daytime sleepiness, Depression and regular sleeping for at least 6 hours a night.
Only older age – 65+ and severe sleep apnoea affected it.
67% heightened cardiovascular risk – initially observed for frequent nappers virtually disappeared after taking account of potentially influential factors.
No associations with cardiovascular ‘events’ were found for nap length 5 minutes to 1 hour plus.
This was an observational study and that means the information gathered comes from the people and what they recall.
The study authors suggest that nap frequency may help to explain the differing conclusions reached by researchers about the impact of napping on heart health. (6)
What if this blog is presenting Another Way that could work?
What if napping is important for our true health and well being but we are simply not given the benefits and understanding, so we don’t know?
What if we all started napping and put the multi billion dollar sleeping aids industry out of business?
What if we study the author of this blog and this website, who knows that naps do work and are key to supporting the quality of our Sleep?
For more information – go to our Sleep category on this website.
(1) (n.d). Lexico. Retrieved March 1, 2020 from
(2) (n.d). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved March 2, 2020 from
(3) Willis, K. (2019, March 11). Catch Some Z’s for National Napping Day. AJC. Retrieved March 2, 2020 from
(4) (2019, March 11). Time for a Snooze: It’s National Napping Day. www.msn.com Retrieved March 2, 2020 from
(6) (2019, September 9). Once or Twice Weekly Daytime Nap Linked to Lower Heart Attack/Stroke Risk. BMJ. Retrieved March 2, 2020 from