POWER (of the) NAP – Celebrating National Napping Day from Nap Rooms to Emergency Rooms

The Huffington Post reported that today is National Napping Day (as established in 1999 by a Boston University professor William Anthony, Ph.D., and his wife, Camille Anthony). 

“Our goal is to encourage folks to take a nap wherever they may be, at home, at the workplace or on vacation, and to make it a regular part of their healthy lifestyle,” Anthony said in a statement. “It is a day when nappers all over the country need to lie down and be counted.” 

In recent news, Harvard College is considering adding a nap room on campus thanks to one student, 19-year-old Yuqi Hou. Yuqi submitted a nap room proposal through Harvard Undergraduate Council’s online petition system. Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds is currently considering the nap room proposal – which would consist of a dimly lit room divided by privacy curtains where students would nap on individual-sized cushions. (Full article with details here)

I applaud Yuqi Hou and Harvard College for being ahead of the curve on napping. Thank you also to Huffington Post for drawing attention to National Napping Day. Naps increase productivity (my all-time favorite article discusses why naps should be encouraged in the workplace).

Yet, napping remains controversial and humorous in America. Why? 

Some people equate napping with laziness. If I felt like being lazy, I would play a game on my phone, watch TV or eat a snack. Those things are fun. We don’t experience sleep on a conscious level so why would anyone choose to sleep randomly during the day?  Especially in awkward circumstances. This is a sign of excessive daytime sleepiness, not laziness.

America needs to open it’s eyes to the real causes of daytime sleepiness. Daytime sleepiness can be caused by sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, depression, as a side effect from medications, or as a secondary symptom related to other disorders and diseases.

Daytime sleepiness is pervasive in our society, but don’t take my word for it – look at the popularity of energy drinks, caffeine, and stimulants. We spend millions of dollars on convenience-store “remedies” that temporarily mask sensations, without acting on the cause of sleepiness. Oh, and energy drinks are sending our youth to emergency rooms at increasing rates (as reported by the New York Times).

Naps are free, safe and for some, very refreshing.  Imagine how many people would nap regularly if they weren’t afraid of being laughed at, repremanded or fired? 

Sadly, we laugh at nappers while sending our children to the hospital on energy drinks. So long as sleepiness and napping remain “jokes” in our society, we will not have a productive conversation about solutions, like visiting sleep doctors and taking naps.  

Today, let’s celebrate National Napping Day. In the future, I hope for a culture that respects sleep, sleep disorders, daytime sleepiness and napping – as major parts of health. It’s my dream to help make this change. 


  1. Alex Withrow on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    There were nearly 21… THOUSAND reported ER visits for energy drink consumption in 2011?! That is very very serious – I had no idea it was that bad.

    Great post here Julie, your passion for taking naps seriously is evident in every word of this piece.

    • julie on March 11, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you for your support, Alex. I gave this post “gusto” because I often hear the other side of the argument, but rarely hear loud voices supporting sleep and napping. 😉

  2. Bridgette Snyder on March 12, 2013 at 5:29 am


    I started a sleep disorder and health awareness petition on the whitehouse.gov website! Let’s get people to sign it!


    • julie on March 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Awesome! I love this and will promote it today. Go, Bridgette, Go!!

  3. Melissa on March 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    When my kids were little and took daily naps, I often wished someone would “put me down” for a nap!!!

    • julie on March 13, 2013 at 1:57 am

      Thank you, Melissa! Yes, napping is nice, I hope we embrace it more as a culture or else I’m moving to Europe eventually! 😉

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