The Cat Nap: A Wake-Up Call For Busy Women

By Cindy Bishop on 02/23/2010
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I often think we should look to nature and particularly the animal kingdom for clues to healthy living. Not in a lion-chasing-down-a-gazelle-Wild Kingdom sort of way, but in an eat-sleep-play-because-it-makes-you-feel-good sort of way.

In the past we’ve talked about how even the wildest animals create opportunities to experience intrinsic joy through play.  We’ve also explored how in nature, animals will select the better tasting, more nutritious foods to eat. And now there’s evidence animals snooze throughout the day because it’s good for them.

Take cats for instance. They love to nap. (Hence the term cat nap). Well, according to scientists at UC Berkeley, taking a cat nap everyday just might make you smarter. There’s plenty of evidence that getting a good night’s sleep helps us to live healthier lives , but now there’s evidence that the effects of a good old-fashioned siesta has a real effect on our brains, memory, learning abilities and overall recovery.

When I worked at Starbucks, there were actually sleep chambers scattered throughout the corporate offices. A nice gesture, but every time I rushed by on my way to a meeting, I’d think, ‘would anyone risk actually being seen walking out of there?’ Does anyone really have the you-know-what to go in there and take a nap? Maybe they did, but I certainly never saw it.

So, this brings me to my question. If it’s a proven fact that taking a cat nap during the day could help you be more alert, allow time for information to download from your brain (leaving more space for new data to upload), would your company allow you to catch forty winks during prime working hours?

Or does our need to please, appear busy and productive out weigh the scientific evidence? Breaking the cultural mores of your working environment is a very tough thing to do. Could you? What do you think would happen if you told your boss you need to take a 30 minute nap?

6 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Jaime says:

    Catnapping is not a crime! Cat naps are the cousin of meditation.

  • Robyn says:

    Many animals rest only 1/2 of their brain at a time since they need to be able to deal with a predetor at any point. It’s the craziest thing! If you get a chance, check out this podcast on sleep.
    http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2007/05/25
    I love Radio Lab!

  • Robyn says:

    Woops! I meant predator.

  • Cindy says:

    Wow. It’s always so interesting how animals evolve.That podcast sounds interesting. Speaking of animal brains, there’s some new research regarding dolphins. Apparently, they have an insulin on and off switch which offers hope for diabetics (b/c our brains are so similar). I think I’ll post on it next week.

    Jaime, how did you know I cat nap during meditation? ;-)

  • love2eatinpa says:

    i would bet there are cultures/countries out there where taking an afternoon siesta is a norm. but here in the good ol’ usa, i think people would be mortified if caught napping, even though research suggests it is a smart thing to do.
    .-= love2eatinpa’s last blog post..Male TV/Movie Star Admits to Being a Compulsive Overeater =-.

  • cindy says:

    I really wish I could get past feeling guilty when I know I should take time for myself, especially at work. The feeling that the whole world will cave in if we’re not ‘being productive’ is such hogwash.

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