Chances are if you're reading this right now you've come to know that napping, like many other favored activities, has now gotten its own holiday. But unlike National Talk Like a Pirate Day or International Coffee Day, National Nap Day can be celebrated many different ways depending on who you are. For some, like small children, napping is seen as a chore. For others, napping is simply a part of everyday life. Spaniards like to call their midday naps "siestas," and this practice has deep cultural roots.

For the average American, however, naps are a less common occurrence. The emphasis in the USA is to maximize productivity at all times. This means there is little room for nap time. However, National Nap Day is an instance where you can literally "rest assured" that your nap is justified. It's not often that you have the opportunity to explore exactly what napping means to you. Here's your chance.

What Is National Nap Day

National Nap Day is an unofficial holiday that was first celebrated in 1999. It was the brainchild of William Anthony, Ph.D., a Boston University professor and his wife, Camille Anthony. They were on a mission to raise awareness about the positive benefits that sleep provides and thought that maybe establishing a day of awareness was the way to go. The holiday grew over the years and is now practiced by more and more people with each observance.

It generally occurs on the Monday in March after Daylight Savings Time begins. It's thought that people might need a little extra help adjusting to the time change. This is what the Anthonys thought when they created the holiday, anyway. The main thing to remember is there's really no wrong way to observe the holiday as long as you take time for a nap in some way. Below, we'll outline naps throughout the ages, some famous naps that have occurred, and what different intervals of naps can do to help you get that optimal rested feeling that so many are chasing.

Naps Have Shaped Cultures Throughout History

A man wearing a Mexican hat taking a nap holding a rifle

image source: via Bernardo Ramonfaur

Naps probably started happening more as humanity started to shift from being primarily hunter-gatherers to adopting massive systems of organized farming. Often farms were protected by city walls, which meant that the people felt a little safer. Naps are more likely to happen under these circumstances. Prior to this, if you were a human in the wild or in small tribes, you'd be less likely to survive if you took a chance and napped.

As societies continued to develop and advance, regular naps became more commonplace. The Greeks and Romans had their own words for naps. Just like what's evolved in modern Spanish culture, naps were taken during the hottest part of the day, usually in the early to mid-afternoon. In fact, the roots of the word "siesta" are "sexta" and "hora" which translates to "sixth hour," the hour of the day that everyone decided to take a snooze.

Naps were referred to with reverence, so much so that in the popular stories and literature that began to develop, dastardly deeds would take place while a character was unassumingly napping. Examples of this include some classic Shakespearean instances where fairies cause mischief in A Midsummer Night's Dream or how the inciting murder occurs in Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. Then there are more well-known examples like the tale of Rip van Winkle, who lies down for a nap and wakes up 20 years later after the American Revolution has erupted, been fought, and then won.

Do People Observe this Holiday Today?

A man taking a nap on bench

Image via Pexels

Today, people are constantly looking for ways to get more sleep. We live in a largely sleep-deprived society, where over-emphasis on productivity can cause long term health problems. Because of this, once people know about this holiday, they are eager to celebrate it. From taking a nap outside under a tree, to resting on a cot or a couch in between meetings, the holiday can be all that's needed to change the course of an otherwise more routine day.

Here Are Ways to Catch More Z's

woman taking a nap on a couch

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Now we'll break down some creative ways to get napping. Hopefully, these options will inspire you to come up with your own ideas. Feel free to use these options too if they're really calling out to you. Or combine a number of these different ways to celebrate. There's no rule that says you may only take one nap during any given day.

The Satisfying Crash

The Coffee Nap

Pausing on an Outdoor Patio

Taking in the Silence

The Classic Hammock

The Poolside Toast

The Oceanside Getaway

The Disco Nap

The Workhorse's Nap

The Golden Hour Nap

The Health Benefits of Catching More Z's

Now that we've gone over all the great ways you can engage in the act of napping, it's time for you to know all of the positive health benefits that you'll derive from taking the time to add this essential practice to your life. Study after study has revealed that napping and getting adequate sleep can help prevent a whole host of health problems. So remember these when you decide to take a nap or not, even on a National Nap Day.

Prevent Heart Attacks

Prevent Cancer

Stress Reduction

Reduce Inflammation

Weight Loss

Reducing Depression

Improving Your Memory


pillow with a do not disturb sign

Image by Wunderela from Pixabay

What are some reasons you'll choose to celebrate National Nap Day this year? We hope that you're inspired to take some extra time during the holiday to nap as well as during other deserving moments throughout your year as well.

Featured Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay