During our younger years, we would get a bit cranky or irritable around the middle of the day, and despite our efforts in convincing our parents we to let us stay up just a little bit longer, we were still told we needed to take a nap. The dreaded nap time, something we definitely took for granted. Usually, we all nap from infancy and throughout our early childhood up until we are deemed to have outgrown them. But do we really outgrow them? Multiple countries participate in the mid-day nap, with Spain's siesta being the most notorious. Although it is called the siesta and majority of people do nap, people aren't required to nap or restricted to napping during this period of time during the day. Additionally, there are many benefits that are linked to napping, such as improved memory skills, increased performance in the workplace, and increasing learning abilities. America should adopt a mid-day nap, much like Spain's siesta.
First, I would like to talk about the history of the siesta, to better understand where the idea of a widespread mid-day nap originated. Most of the countries that participate in a mid-day nap typically are somewhere with a warmer climate. The main reason for the nap began as a way for people to be inside for the hottest part of the day, as well as to escape the Sun's most powerful rays. Spain most likely started the tradition to relieve farmers. Spain probably drew inspiration for the break from ancient Islam, where naps were recorded as law. Today, it is still used as a quick get away from the heat and sun, but it isn't something that's always seen as necessary. Spain's siesta spans the time of two hours, and while a lot of people do nap, it isn't mandatory to sleep during this time. This seems like an effective way of breaking up the workers' days, especially compared to the average thirty-minute lunch break at many workplaces here in America. It sounds like a nice idea, doesn't it? There are even health benefits that come along with napping, although there are some health concerns that arise too.
Naps can be a great way to restore some energy and get a break from work, except for those who have insomnia. Insomnia is when a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or returning to sleep. After reading more into this on Ressleep.com, I was able to find that by someone with insomnia frequently napping, their insomnia symptoms may get even worse. This starts creating a cycle, with the insomniac trying to catch up on sleep during the day and making their nighttime symptoms continue to grow. Insomnia is the number one sleep disorder in the United States, affecting about forty-million people. Although this is a good point, this cycle can be avoided.
One thing that helps insomniacs is trying to put themselves on a schedule that would get their focus on sleeping at night and resisting the temptation of sleeping during the day. By doing this, they would feel more and more tired during the day which would actually be a good thing, because the amount of fatigue they would build up throughout the day would in turn allow them to sleep at more normal times. Even though napping wouldn't be a very good option for them, they could do something else with this time, like eat lunch without being rushed, go on a leisurely walk, or really anyway they would want to spend their time. And although this is the most common sleep disorder in America, only 12% of the population suffers with insomnia. Despite the fact that napping can be counterproductive to those with insomnia, it has actually been proven to be helpful to those with other sleep disorders.
According to James Wyatt, who has a PhD and is the director of the Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, individuals with narcolepsy and shift-work syndrome can benefit from frequent napping. Narcolepsy is essentially getting urges to sleep throughout the day, but a common misconception is that it happens whenever. Usually, it occurs when a person is in a relaxed environment, not while they are actively doing something.
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