Writing Hint #23: Take a Nap

I am gradually changing the way I write. Over the last six months or so I am waking up quite early each morning. When I was teaching full time during the day and writing in the evening I struggled to arise in time for the start of the school day. By the time I arrived home my creative juices had often been drained completely by the demands of the day. The tank was empty. There was little, if any, left for writing.

Now that I am writing more or less full time there has been a transformation in my working day. Many days I am so eager to get on with my writing that I start in my PJs, sometimes neglecting even to shave and shower until well into the morning. (Oh, the joys of working at home).

There is, however, a payback time. By mid-afternoon the eyelids are getting droopy and the concentration levels plummet dangerously. Time for a “Grandpa nap” I often say jokingly. I can easily go to sleep in my favourite chair – sometimes within a minute – and sleep for about twenty minutes. I am then as fresh as in the morning and can get on with more writing or other tasks.

Backed up by research

What I didn’t realise is that my work pattern is supported by recent research.

A nap a day will keep lost productivity at bay, says the author of a new book, who says sleeping can change your life.

Research on the benefits of napping should serve as a wake-up call for employers as the drain on businesses is staggering, says Harvard-trained research scientist Sara Mednick.

Goodness – she didn’t have to do the research. I could have told her the facts. It is a habit I inherited from my father and two older brothers, all believers in the short nap. Intermittently over the years I have done this too, but not on a regular, consistent basis. I’ve even been known to have a nap in a noisy staff room, or under my desk in my classroom at lunch time.

Sleep deprivation can also lead to a whole host of health problems such as increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, decreased libido and obesity, said Mednick, author of the book “Take a Nap! Change your life.”

“What I found with napping research is actually that naps can actually help solve a lot of these problems,” she said.

I think I’ll just go and have a short nap.

To read the whole article click here.


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