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article imageOp-Ed: Yes, that daytime nap is doing you a lot of good

By Paul Wallis     Mar 1, 2020 in Health
Atlanta - Napping has become a science. Views vary, as you’d expect, but the overall verdict seems to be coming down very much in favour of a nap to recharge and reduce fatigue and stress. In a virtually psychotic, unhealthy society, this is important.
The consensus is coming from ‘nap institutes” like The Nap Ministry in Atlanta, among others. Not everybody agrees, but there are some pretty strong drivers for this view of napping.
The theory of napping
Naps, in fact, are pretty common in nature. Even very agile animals like cats take naps to the point that catnaps are named after them. The basic equation is “High energy lifestyle = reduce fatigue”. Seems reasonable.
For humans, however, napping is also time-weighted. You do need to be awake over a range of times. That irritating fact, however, also has a few balances. Rest reduces stress. That allows the natural sleep-healing processes to go back to work, rather than devoting valuable energy to things involving being bored out of your mind.
Rest is also a guaranteed performance enhancer. The mindless “workaholic/ this city never sleeps/ 24/7 stir crazy” myth was exploded almost immediately back in the 1980s as extremely unhealthy and in many ways just plain stupid, but it still exists.
I’d like to digress, slightly, at this point, to a certain level of murderous glee. This digression is about the subject of half-witted ideas about time usage as a method of destroying performance.
Some points:
***Feeling tired is bad; low energy when working is no fun at all.
***Tired people inevitably make mistakes. The more tired, the more mistakes.
***Putting in more time and effort guarantees fatigue. It’s the exact diametric opposite of “working smarter”.
***Many workplaces and food outlets even have high energy colours like red and yellow combinations to motivate customers. The likely effect is to tire out staff in busy places where even the eyes don’t get any rest. (Customers, after all, don’t spend hours in these places.)
***Some workplaces place such absurd, thoughtless parameters on performance that they create stress. The level of expectation on the people actually doing the work alone could easily be debilitating. In call centres, there’s no such thing as a break. Fatigue builds, fast.
(The business applications of this thoughtless insistence on arbitrary rather than meaningful performance can even cause lousy business behaviours. For example; A well-known company which has since gone right out of retirement planning used to insist on 2 minutes talking to retirement customers. The retirement money may have been worth a few bucks or millions, but you only got that 2 minutes. See where stress and fatigue might sneak in? See where the lousy business practices take hold?)
The point here is that a global macro environment based on tiring people out with stimuli and demands on their energy levels which creates so many problems. In some cases, extreme fatigue can cause actual health problems. That run-down feeling is a potential long-term directional indicator for way too many people.
Napping is a DIY working option for managing these things. Sleep is good for you, provided it’s deep enough to deliver positive health outcomes. Rest in general, in fact, is the unspoken answer to so many things.
Health and napping
Napping also reduces risks for people with a range of health conditions. It’s important in hypertension, for instance. Reducing blood pressure by napping may seem to be a no-brainer, but it’s a practical option. I can attest to that, having had a very high BP for some years, (The condition is now past tense, and it was very tense, but now thankfully gone.)
Napping did the job of eliminating infuriating levels of fatigue during the day for me. Without exception, the very scary lack of energy was fixed, and I was clearly much better and more alert.
For people with chronic conditions, energy usage is critical. You’ve got only so much energy during the day. By rights, that energy should be going into getting better. Napping makes sure it is.
There’s a theory that short naps are best, and prevent grogginess and the “overslept” feeling which most people know only too well. That’s probably ballpark, but I’d say because everyone’s energy levels can vary so much, with individual issues, that enough to do the job is the better option. If you wake up feeling refreshed, that’s exactly what you needed.
Napping culture?
Siestas aren’t exactly unknown. They’re a useful part of many cultures, dodging heat and related stresses. As a cultural statement, however, napping also has a few very valid points to make:
Stress is in effect a form of assault, and way too many things can cause it, deliberately or otherwise. There’s no reason to accept it or tolerate it, but you do have to do something about it. Naps are a good way to avoid the collateral damage of stress.
Demands made on people in daily life and work can cause extreme fatigue, combined with unavoidable stress. These demands need a considered, rational response. A good survival mechanism like napping does make a lot of sense. You conserve and rebuild the energy you need, and avoid the hourly fan-hitting exercises, too.
Some questions
I spent quite a bit of time in the employment sector in the US and Europe. I noticed a lot of stress-related issues, and some truly weird workplace management issues.
So, some questions:
• What possible expectations can anyone have of an overloaded, over-stressed workforce?
• How much “performance” is based on easily-hyped statistical gibberish, and how much on facts?
• Why are people put in energy-wasting roles, when better options are available and have been for decades?
• What, in the name of prolific psychobabble is wrong with a low-stress environment?
• Do you think managing actual zombies is a good idea?
Napping may just be the way out of a society at its own throat. Everything is too stressful. No worthwhile results are achieved by this method.
Maybe management science, that great excuse for everything, would like to put its vast intellects to dealing with this glaringly obvious situation? Take a nap. See if it helps.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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