It’s very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.

Thich Nhat Hanh

I began napping when I first started work after university. I still do so whenever it fits. I am in illustrious company. JFK, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Napoleon and Johannes Brahms are just a few of the brilliant minds throughout history who have practised and advocated the positive benefits of a daily nap. Whole nations—think of the siesta—follow this practice.

Sleep experts and researchers all agree that a ‘power nap’ of between 10 and 30 minutes reduces stress and leaves you more patient, rested and better able to learn and work efficiently.

Napping can increase your overall health and give your immune system a boost.

My experience is that I often gain clarity and receive intuitive insights upon waking from short ‘power naps’. I definitely feel more rested and ready to tackle the next challenges in the day with positivity and humour.

Evidence shows that regular napping can enhance health, productivity and creativity. So why not develop a regular habit of taking a nap in the middle of the day? Even a 10-minute nap can profoundly and positively change how you feel.

Some people never lose the napping habit. But for most it is something not done since childhood. For many, napping has had a negative connotation. You know the expression ‘Sleeping on the job.’ But today businesses around the world are instituting an employee ‘nap time’ break and some even supply a designated work nap space.

Marketing-software company, HubSpot, has a nap room featuring a hammock suspended above plush carpet and soothing cloud-covered walls to encourage its 750 employees to nap at work. CMO Mike Volpe, known to use the nap room frequently, says a 20-minute nap is often all he needs to regain focus and re-energize to be more productive for the rest of the day.

The power nap. Not a posture I would choose.

The power nap. Not a posture I would choose.

Offering employees a space to catch a mid-day siesta is now becoming a common amenity for companies looking to position themselves as progressive, dynamic places to work. One recent study showed a power nap is more effective than caffeine.

Other research from the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly half of Americans say insufficient sleep detrimentally affects their daily activities.

The implications extend beyond health. Lack of sleep costs U.S. companies a whopping $63 billion in lost productivity, according to a September 2011 study from the Journal of Sleep.

Napping can reduce anxiety and depression by minimizing your levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that elevates your blood sugar.

Obviously, the best way to maintain your health and work ethic is to get enough sleep each night.

But the next time you are feeling that early afternoon flagging sensation, rather than reaching for a caffeine fix, take a nap. You just might make it a regular habit.

We will be more successful in all our endeavours if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-centre ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See  In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101