I get by with four hours of sleep. No, I don’t but those who do wear it on their sleeve as a symbol of pride and a demonstration of their values of hard work, drive and motivation. Famous politicians, Prime Ministers and Presidents have had stories written about their sleeping habits and their ability to function with only a few hours of sleep each night. For some strange reason sleep has become something that the weak or the lazy do as in “all she does is sleep.” There is plenty of evidence that lack of regular and restful sleep robs you of longevity and good health over time. I however, want to turn to another wonderful tool in your arsenal to build good health, a brief nap.

Most mammals are polyphasic as in they sleep more than once during the day. Human beings have become monophasic which means are days are divided into sleeping and waking. However, adding a brief, less than twenty minute or a slightly longer ninety minute nap during the day can be extremely useful. The short nap will restore alertness, mental focus and memory and enhance performance. The longer nap will act as a substitute for your night sleep and allow you to enter into the rapid eye movement phase. Anything in between and this was a surprise to me, does not allow you to go through an entire cycle of sleep resulting in you waking up groggy and disoriented. Of course, if you sleep too long, it can disrupt your sleep pattern at night. Given our pressures on time, probably the short less than twenty minute nap is the best option.

If you are not doing this already, your body may require some training to get used to the idea of sleeping in the afternoon. Find a quiet restful place, preferably dark and make sure that you set an alarm to wake up. For those who cant fall asleep quickly, just lying down with your eyes closed is a great start. If you repeat this often enough at the same time each day, you will find yourself being able to nap fairly easily. Happy Napping!


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.