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The Restorative Power of Catnapping

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:00pm

Reviewed by QualityHealth’s Medical Advisory Board
Have you ever watched a cat go through its daily routine? Chances are you’ve witnessed a lot of grooming, playing and chasing-and napping. In fact, cats sleep more than half of their lives away. But they don’t slumber continuously for 16 hours. They sleep in long and short stretches through the day and night. When a vigorous activity has them fatigued, they plunk themselves down in a cozy corner-or wherever they happen to be-and sleep until they feel restored and ready to tackle their next challenge.

We could all take a cue from these practical felines. While humans don’t need to sleep as much as cats do, the average person probably needs more rest than he or she gets. And if going to bed earlier or getting up later just isn’t an option, the obvious solution is to sneak in a rejuvenating catnap during the day.

Perhaps you think of naps as a luxury reserved for babies, sick people, or the elderly. You, as a vibrant adult, should be able to power through your day without closing your eyes. But there are definite biological rhythms that govern our alertness over a 24-hour period, and it’s been widely acknowledged that mid-afternoon is prime time for napping. Our bodies seem wired to doze after lunch. In fact, many countries, recognizing this universal need for rest, close offices and shops for several hours so workers can go home and relax.

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