The Nap: Bad Rap or Approving Clap?


By MJ Ali

The nap. At some point, the less wise started to equate it with laziness. That’s changing. Ask Google, Huffington Post, Zappos, Ben & Jerry’s, and other very productive and successful companies what they think about napping and they’ll give you a tour of their workplace nap rooms (and stats on their rise in productivity). 

Way before Europe was a thing and Siesta was a word (Latin for hora sexta, or sixth hour), people napped midday as a respite from the heat, to eat with family, and go back to work refreshed. History and traditions span the globe, and even though some countries have all but abandoned the art of the midday nap, the practice is once again on the rise.

Studies show that midday naps boost productivity, refresh the brain, and make for healthier, happier workers. 85% of mammalian species sleep for short periods throughout the day, making the human species a distinct minority. Did we adapt our sleep cycles over time? If so, why?

Do you nap? Some people think it’s a waste of time or a sign of laziness. But, if you could be more productive in the afternoon when most people are slamming back energy drinks or involuntarily nodding off, would you try it then? I was one of those people who thought naps would pull me down for the rest of the day, but I tried it a few times, and it made a significant difference in my energy, concentration, and productivity levels. So now, I’m a napper.

Cultural or not, species-specific behavior or not, there’s a lot to be said for the power of the nap. If you’re thinking of exploring whether napping might be right for you, I’ll start you off with a couple of fun articles:

Take Naps at Work. Apologize to No One.

America, It’s Time for Your Nap

And, for all the avid nappers, we’re in good company. Here’s a quick world tour of “nap” in languages around the globe:

  • Arabic: qayloulah
  • Bogotá Colombian Spanish: motoso
  • Brazilian Portuguese: cochilo
  • Chinese: xiaoqi
  • Filipino: idlip
  • Finnish: torkut
  • Hausa: rurumi
  • Maori: moenga
  • Ojibwe: nindanweb
  • Somali: waxeey

Nap well!

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