August 7, 2009
In praise of naps
I get a lot of flak from friends about my fondness for napping. But give me one rotten night's sleep and I take three times as long to write a sentence as I normally would and the better part of the morning to make even the most trivial decision.
I don't drink caffeine, so when I find myself wasting the day away due to sleep deprivation, I nap. Twenty minutes, one hour, even three hours -- however much I can afford to sneak in between deadlines and meetings.
I'm far from the only self-employed person who does this. One personal trainer I know even heads home each Monday through Friday at noon, fixes herself lunch, walks her dog, and naps for an hour before returning to work.
I realize that not everyone has the luxury of snoozing on weekdays (new parents and office workers, to name a few). But you may be surprised to know just how many Americans do doze off during the day -- intentionally, that is.
According to a new Pew Research Center poll, 34 percent of Americans nap during the day -- weekends, weekdays, holidays, you name it. The New York Times cites Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton as "confessed nappers." And not too long ago, napping centers -- spa-like businesses with quiet rooms and comfy chairs where executives could grab some shuteye -- were New York City's wellness story du jour.
According to the Pew survey, napping is more prevalent in men than women. It's also more prevalent in people who aren't as happy.
In addition, Pew found little difference in nappers' propensity to sleep during the workweek and on the weekend. And while it shouldn't come as any shock that those who had trouble sleeping the night before are more likely to nap, a noticeable difference in how the sexes deal with stress did rear its head:
"In spite of the fact that women are less likely than men to report having napped in the past 24 hours (31% vs. 38%), they are more likely than men to report having had trouble sleeping (29% vs. 22%) in the past 24 hours," the Pew study noted.
Readers, what's your solution to making up for a skimpy or stinky night's sleep? Are you a napper? An intravenous caffeine user? Or do you just tough it out till evening rolls around and hit the hay as early as you can?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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