THE BLOG

National Napping Day: The Art of Having a Good Nap

10/03/2014 14:12 GMT | Updated 21/05/2014 18:59 BST

I come from pedigree napping stock.

My dad is the emperor of naps - since the age of 18, even through his training to become a doctor, crazy hours as a surgeon and subsequently a GP - he has managed a nap almost every day. Nothing gets in the way of his nap - not a wedding, guests coming over or an earthquake.

My sister is the same, and both of them always emerge from their naps fresh-faced and full of energy.

If I sound envious, it's because I have always been crap at naps. I wake up feeling groggy, disorientated, regretful and almost always, my brain feels like it is encased in bubble wrap for the rest of the evening. Nothing can shake me out of this fug, not even two Americanos on the trot.

So it was to my delight that this weekend, I finally had The Perfect Nap.

I'd spent the weekend round my sister's house, and after a heavy pub lunch, she yawned and announced she was going to have a quick nap before we headed out again. I lay down next to her reading my book, and soon enough, drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up 20 minutes later with a jolt, I realised I didn't feel strange and unusual, in fact, it was as if my brain had just been washed in something cleansing and lovely.

I had bagloads of energy, and couldn't wait to get back outside. All the crankiness that had built up from a tiring day evaporated.

Talking to my sister about it, she said that it was probably the duration of the nap. And she was right. Where I had been going wrong was thinking that I needed to nap for at least a couple of hours, when truly, I just needed 20 winks.

I used to think naps were either for the elderly or students but actually, they are a really savvy way of boosting creativity into your day.

Plus, it makes sense that only short naps have positive benefits because humans are monophasic (we sleep once a day unlike most animals who sleep several times a day).

The benefits include paying more attention to your work, feeling happier and more rested, as well as being able to work for longer. It helps lower your stress levels and makes you feel more energetic.

So who could argue with a nap? On second thoughts, perhaps your boss.