Catnaps can be helpful and healthful, so National Nap Day encourages napping at work. Image: Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, March 13, most Americans will be dragging their feet just a bit. Daylight saving time takes an hour out of everyone’s schedule that day. National Napping Day, Monday, March 14, encourages catching a few Z’s to catch up.

The history of National Napping Day

In 2004, Boston University professor William Anthony, Ph. D, and his wife, who owns The Napping Company, started National Napping Day. The pair decided that the day after the daylight saving time would be the perfect time to highlight how napping can help most Americans. Their suggested way of celebrating the “holiday” is simple: take a nap. They encourage napping at work, at home or wherever you can get in a few minutes.

The benefits of napping

Americans are chronically sleep deprived. In 2001, the National Sleep Foundation released a study that found that more than 63 percent of Americans are at least somewhat sleep-deprived. Though every person is different, an average person requires between seven and 10 hours of sleep a night. While napping cannot easily make up several hours of sleep, it can help. Vegas casinos make profitable use of the fact that lack of sleep means most people make riskier decisions. After just a 15-minute catnap, however, most people make better decisions, feel better, and naps even reduce the risk of heart attack.

The problem with napping on the job

In America, the negative connotation of sleeping on the job is enough to keep most companies from encouraging employees to get some midday shut-eye. In Japan, napping is not only socially acceptable, it’s encouraged in just about every kind of public space. Some countries have a socially accepted siesta that encourages several hours of relaxing and napping in the middle of the day. In America, napping at work may not be socially accepted, but if nothing else, your 15-minute “coffee break” could easily become your “nap break.”


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