Nap it up

I’m an unabashed supporter of work-time naps, whether for doctors or other workers. Although I rarely manage to squeeze one in, I find a 10-20 minute mid-afternoon nap pays off in increased productivity later on. I still remember speaking with a 75 year old Latin American doctor on a long international flight about 20 years ago.

“Duermes la siesta?” he asked me. He assured me that it was the key to health and suggested I take up the practice.

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, he may have been right. from the USA Today (Sleeping on the job may reduce fatal heart attacks)

A study published today concludes that napping at work appears to reduce risks for fatal heart attacks, especially among men. Jobs=stress, and naps=less stress, and that seems to help the ticker, researchers say in their study, the largest to date on the health effects of napping. The results appear in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study followed 23,681 healthy Greek adults — most of them men in their 50s — for an average of about six years. As the AP reports: “Those who napped at least three times weekly for about half an hour had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart attacks or other heart problems than those who did not nap.” The strongest evidence was in working men.

(Not enough women died during the study to know if it’s good for them, too.)

Napping on the job is not unheard of. When I worked in Hong Kong people snoozed at their desks after lunch.

Although it may seem un-American I think we should give it a try. The bosses should set the example.

February 13, 2007

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