Wednesday, August 5, 2009


No, not the North American Patristics Society, but the real thing--a nice midday snooze.

I personally love naps. I am lucky to be in a profession that has a certain degree of daily scheduling flexibility that allows me to drop home for a good 20-30 minute recharge in dreamtime, but I wish I had more opportunities.

The NYTimes has a short piece critiquing the Pew Research Center's recent survey on napping, claiming that the framing of the questions clearly show the hand of a non-napper.

Something about the shape of this survey suggests — ever so slightly — that napping is aberrant behavior, a personal rebellion against workplace wakefulness. But how would the number of adult American nappers change if American businesses encouraged napping? If businesses knew, as all good nappers know, that a short nap is the best way to recharge yourself during the day?

We suspect the numbers would rise dramatically, proving that there is no hard and fast distinction between nappers and non-nappers, only a difference in opportunity. After all, napping is an entirely normal part of normal human sleep patterns. And studies have shown that short naps enhance alertness and productivity.

So why is it easier to find a coffee machine in the office than a spot for a doze? Perhaps the simplest answer is that sleep is so relentlessly personal. We are never more who we really are than when sound asleep, and being who we really are is something we’re supposed to do on our personal time.

But let’s try to think of it this way. Plenty of us bring work home. Why not bring a little sleep to the office? It worked in kindergarten. It would work even better now.

Here's to napping!

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