Now that the weather is nice many of us are tempted to go out at lunchtime for a walk. I am all for it . A bit of sunshine, fresh air, and physical activity can make us more alert and productive when we get back to our desks. But another alternative might be just as good for you: A short nap! In the smaller southern Italian towns, the siesta (from the latin “sixth hour” of the day=noon) is still honored as a way to maintain quality of life. A nice home-cooked meal, perhaps even a few “z’s” before the store is re-opened is a way to make life slow its rythmn and self-care come to the forefront. Nothing ultimately gets done if you are too tired, exhausted, or run-down to do it well.
Brisk walk versus short nap? It depends on how you feel, and how sleep deprived you are. According to the national sleep foundation:
- Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
- Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
- Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy.
- Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
So now you have a choice. You decide on a daily basis what you need in the middle of your own workday, then follow through with the best action plan to refresh your body and mind!