Snooze Away! The Art and Science Behind Napping

Written by: Chris Gardner, OMF Marketing


In the fast-paced, nonstop world we live in today, feeling tired during the day is an inevitable experience for most of us. Whether it’s from not getting enough sleep at night, hitting an afternoon energy lull, workplace stress, or just life’s daily demands, having a desire to sneak in a nap is universal.


In celebration of National Napping Day on March 11th, let’s explore the facts, benefits, history and “best practices” behind the art of napping. Consider this your guide to indulging in guilt-free siestas and perfecting your nap game.


A Brief Cultural History Behind Napping


Napping has been part of human history dating as far back as the dawn of mankind. Primitive naps served an important biological function helping our ancestors conserve energy between hunts for food and shelter. Napping trends have emerged in various cultures and eras throughout the evolution of human civilization as well:

  • Ancient China – Afternoon naps were embedded into their culture and daily tea rituals
  • Ancient Egypt – Beds were designed for relaxation and nap comfort
  • Ancient Rome and Greece – Short post-lunch naps were considered healthy
  • European Industrial Age – Workers had designated mid-shift nap periods
  • Latin American Cultures – The concept of a siesta break for families to nap is popular after heavy mid-day meals


Fun fact: Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and John F. Kennedy were all staunch proponents of daily naps.


The rise of ambitious hustle culture attitudes often wrongly portrays napping as lazy. But history proves that allowing time to rest is key to balancing productivity, wellbeing and longevity.


The Health Perks Science Shows From Napping


While napping may feel indulgent, science confirms it offers profound health and wellness benefits. Here are some evidence-based advantages:

  • Improves Alertness and Performance – Short 10-20 minute power naps rapidly boost wakefulness, concentration, reaction times and accuracy. NASA pilots and surgery interns are often encouraged to utilize power napping.
  • Supports Emotional Resilience – Naps help process emotions faster while reducing impulsivity and irrational reactions. This strengthens coping skills and patience.
  • Bolsters Immune System – During sleep cycles, proteins called cytokines activate to fight inflammation causing threats like stress, infections or illnesses.
  • Enhances Memory Consolidation – As short term memories shift into long term retention, naps help the knowledge solidification process act more swiftly.
  • Regulates Metabolism and Appetite – Sleep-related hormones that control hunger cues, glucose processing, body mass and metabolism homeostasis calibrate during naps.


Clearly the broad spectrum science indicates even a brief nap can pack a huge punch! Now let’s reveal tips for mastering ideal nap habits.


Nap Smarter: Tips for Perfecting Your Dose of Daytime Sleep


  • Time it Strategically – The most beneficial nap window is between 1pm-3pm when natural dips in core body temperature and melatonin spur sleepiness. Avoid napping close to bedtime.
  • Keep it Brief – For pure revitalizing benefits without grogginess, keep naps 10-25 minutes; 90 minutes max will reach full sleep cycle without disorientation.
  • Make it Comfortable – Find a tranquil spot with little light or noise, comfortable mattress and bedding for relief from physical stressors. Even floor naps work.
  • Set Gentle Alarm – Instead of disruptive, jarring alarm sounds, use gradual waking mechanisms like fitness trackers with vibrations, gentle music or meditation tones, or place an ice pack wrapped in a towel against your skin. The gradually increasing cold sensation will rouse you naturally over time for a more refreshing end to your nap.
  • Pair it With Caffeine – Drinking a pre-nap cup of coffee, then allowing it to kick in post-nap can amplify energy boosts from both sources.
  • Keep Naps Distinct From Night Sleep – Limit long naps late that encroach on adequate overnight wind-downs for divided rest regulation.


So feel empowered to indulge in the renewal and restoration powers of napping without guilt! Thoughtful napping can be an active performance-enhancing lifestyle habit.


After all, if napping icons like John F. Kennedy, Napoleon, Leonardo DaVinci and Albert Einstein all used short sleeps to amplify their productivity, shouldn’t we all keep it in our daily wellness routines? This National Napping Day, may you be inspired to perfect your napping craft through the art and science behind it. Sleep deeply...then wake up and chase those dreams.



Sources and References:


History of Napping

Napping and Alertness

Immune Function