Take a nap!

Take a nap. I do. Almost every day. Sometimes my nap lasts up to two hours or more, but usually it’s more like a half hour.

I wrote the “Take a Nap” note on my fridge, not because I need a reminder – it comes naturally to me. In fact, my husband says my greatest skill is that I am able to take a nap just about anywhere, at any time.

I added it on the fridge because I used to hide the fact that I was taking a nap. If I got a phone call in the middle of the nap, answered and someone asked, “Oh, did I wake you?” I usually said “no” even if they did. I didn’t want people to think I was lazy. If my kids came into the house during my nap, I would jump up from my nap and pretend I was doing something else.

And now I enjoy a nap without guilt and encourage you to do the same.

It seems I’ve been vindicated. Vindicated by science. And vindicated by the great thinkers, movers and shakers of the world.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance. In addition to improving performance, scientific research now confirms that a nap increases creativity.

Now I like to tell my family and friends, when they catch me in a nap, that I am actually writing. And this is indeed true. I am fueling and inspiring my creativity with sleep.

Similarly, after a nap, I can get as much work done in one hour that might normally take me two to three hours. This too is consistent with medical research. Robert Stickgold, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, did a study in which he had students conduct difficult tasks several times throughout the day. They got worse and worse as the day wore on. When he had them take differing lengths of naps, he found that students who had at least a 90 minute nap performed as well as students who got a full night’s sleep.

And, if you nap, like me, you are in great company with some historically significant nappers.

According to an article written on Quartz Media by Michael Simmons - bestselling author and contributor to Time, Forbes, and Fortune magazine - these are the nap habits of some of history’s most successful, brilliant and active people: Albert Einstein - took a nap every afternoon after lunch; Thomas Edison - up to three hours per day; Winston Churchill - late afternoon nap a must; John F. Kennedy - one- to two-hour nap after lunch; Leonardo Da Vinci - up to a dozen 10-minute naps a day; John D. Rockefeller - every day after lunch; Margaret Thatcher - one hour a day. Add to that list: Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Charlie Rose. Even Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger take daily naps.

It might not be scientific, but who can argue with legendary New York Yankee catcher and coach Yogi Berra, “I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.”

I proudly proclaim, “Take a nap!” To which I add without shame, “I do it every day!”

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