The Nap Cure
Five Good Reasons to Get 40 Winks
- The recuperative effects of an afternoon nap can more than make up for the loss of an hour of nighttime sleep.
- Multiple naps can lessen the impact of subsequent sleep deprivation. For example, an M.D. would perform far better if she were to take a few naps before going on call for 48 hours.
- Even a 15-minute rest can improve your alertness, performance and mood for hours.
- Naps, not caffeine, can help prevent motor-vehicle accidents caused by sleep deprivation. A tired driver who drinks coffee to stay awake is still likely to succumb to "micro sleeps"–brief naps lasting four or five seconds. In that short time, a car going 55 miles per hour may travel more than 100 yards, which can easily cause a fatal accident.
- You'll be able to work longer. Research on transoceanic sailors in the Around Alone race–which takes place every four years–showed that by taking frequent naps, the sailors could function for days at a time with only three hours of sleep in each 24-hour period. (The inventor Thomas Alva Edison was famous for catnapping in his office to help him work through the night.)
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