Power to the People! (Who practice Power Napping)
By: Dave Hanegraaff
What do kindergarten teachers, Spaniards and modern athletes have in common? They all understand the power of a good nap.
Most of us remember naptime being our least favorite part of the day when we were in kindergarten, and yet most of us would do anything to make that necessary slumber part of our everyday routine. And anyone who spends a significant time with young children will tell you exactly how important rest is for them.
Time for a Siesta?
While the Spanish didn’t invent the afternoon nap, they surely made it famous, as the term “siesta” is now internationally a colloquial term for getting a quick dose of rejuvenating relaxation time. The term siesta is derived from the Latin word “hora sexta,” which means 6th hour and at the time of it’s origin referred to the 6th hour after dawn and signaled the time in which workers would retreat to their quarters for a time of rest to repair their bodies for the rest of the days work. And that’s exactly what a siesta or power nap should be. Many “worker bees” view the concept of a siesta as nothing more than an opportunity for people to be lazy. And as our lives have evolved from less rustic to more industrial the need to escape the afternoon heat has become less of an issue, thus invalidating the initial impulse for a siesta.
But, thinking of the concept from that angle is a classic case of missing the forest for the trees. Sociologist Juliet B. Schor contends that “Pre-Industrial workers worked fewer hours than todays.” Which means that just because we don’t need to escape the grueling afternoon heat or hard labor conditions doesn’t mean we couldn’t benefit from the siesta.
One industry where this has become common knowledge?
Modern professional athletes. One of the most viable economic advantages a professional athlete can take to gain an edge on his opponents and increase his or her earning potential is to take excellent care of their bodies. Gone are the stories of athletes of old taking smoke breaks in the locker room at halftime.
Modern athletes such as NBA players Steph Curry, Steve Nash and LeBron James have been some of the strongest advocates for the powers provided by taking a daily nap. Nash understands that sleep is cumulative and says “if you nap every game day, all those hours add up and it allows you to get through the season better.” This could explain why Nash was able to maintain sustained success at an age where most athletes playing his position have long been retired.
Another example of sustained success over time is LeBron James who absolutely swears by his afternoon siesta as a critical part of his routine. And of course when athletes begin advocating for something, Americans pay attention, so maybe we can all look forward to shameless afternoon naps. Wouldn’t that be nice?
It’s not that crazy of a concept to sleep yourself to more success!
As the evidence for the effectiveness of naps continues to mount, more and more cutting-edge entrepreneurs are getting an edge by taking time out to reload. It’s a classic case of not necessarily working harder, but working smarter. Certified sleep expert Terry Cralle who works with top-notch companies and doesn’t understand why so many businesses fail to see the benefits of sleep. In an interview with Entrepreneur magazine, Cralle said that she doesn’t understand why “some large companies have workout areas or gyms on-site and yet we’re turning a blind eye to sleep, and it’s a biological necessity.”
Google gets it and other similarly cutting-edge companies are not only allowing their employees the opportunity to sleep at the job (not on the job) and are even providing separate spaces at the office for their employees to get a bit of shut-eye.
The evidence in favor of regulated naps is overwhelming. And as high achievers continue to exemplify this 'secret to success,' it feels as though it will only be a matter of time until everyone is swearing by their afternoon nap. Until then, stay on the cutting edge by making sure to shut your eyes for a short while every day!