Europeans are much more open to the mid-day nap than Americans. For Spaniards, the siesta is a time to catch up with friends at a café, go home for a quick nap, or just take an hour or so to unwind mid-day. In America, regular napping is only culturally acceptable for children, seniors, and “lazy” college students. A N.Y. Times article showed that it might be time for us to revisit that notion—in the N.B.A., game-day naps are ubiquitous and considered to be a vital part of players’ training and performance on the court.
It’s common for practice to wind down by mid-afternoon so N.B.A players can get some much-needed rest. This napping culture is so entrenched that the league office knows they shouldn’t call players mid-afternoon, lest they disrupt the athletes from their slumber. For N.B.A. players and other athletes that lead a life on the road, naps are a much-needed way to balance out a sleep schedule disrupted by frequent travel. N.B.A. players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant are all careful to schedule time for the pre-game nap.
In a Huffington Post article, Dr. Margot Putukain, director of sports medicine at Princeton University, explained why naps are so important to athletes. Dr. Putukain said sleep is restorative for muscles and joints—sleep deprived athletes complain of pain in these areas. Getting sufficient rest is also important to the players’ level of performance and their reaction time during games. But naps aren’t just for elite athletes, we can all benefit from a little extra shut eye. Interested in learning more about how you could benefit from regular napping? Check out this infographic on different types of naps and the many advantages of napping.