RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Ah, the Monday morning grind. We’ve all felt it, dragging in after a restful weekend dreaming of the next Saturday morning when we can stay in bed as long as we want. If you rarely feel rested during your work week, you could be sleep-deprived. And a new survey by the Pew Research Center suggests that nearly two-thirds of us aren’t taking advantage of ways to rejuvenate ourselves.
THE DETAILS: Telephone interviewers polled 2,969 American adults about their napping habits, and found that 34 percent of us, on average, take a nap every day, with more men (38 percent) doing so than women (31 percent). By age, those over 80 were the largest percentage of people taking naps (52 percent), but in the under-80 set, people between the ages of 30 and 49 were most likely to nap (35 percent), while those between 50 and 69 years old were the least likely (32 percent).
WHAT IT MEANS: Napping doesn’t mean you’re lazy. In fact, there may be some link between naps and financial success; in the survey, a third of frequent nappers made more than $100,000 per year. Studies have also found that naps improve cognitive function, memory, and alertness, and one study in Greece found that people who took three 30-minute naps a week cut their risk of a fatal heart attack by 37 percent—largely due to the fact that naps cut down on heart-damaging stress.
Researchers have found that prime napping time is between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. But with most of us at work during those hours, sneaking in some shuteye takes a little doing.
Read on for eight ways to boost creativity—and longevity—by harnessing the power of the nap.