I have always enjoyed naps, but until recently I have always felt a bit guilty about taking an afternoon snooze. I believed that naps were for lazy people, and that I should be doing something more productive with my time. Therefore I was happy when I read in Daniel Pink's book When that taking naps are actually proven to improve cognitive performance and improve mental health. Pink suggests, "Naps are like Zambonis for our brains - they smooth out the nicks, scuffs, and scratches a typical day has left on our mental ice." When I read this, it made perfect sense! I had always felt like a quick nap rejuvenated my energy, but it felt great to read it from such a trusted author in behavioral psychology.
Now that I finally feel I have been given "permission" to take naps, I always try to look for times when I can shut my eyes for a few minutes. Keeping naps short, however, is a key to a successful nap. Pink maintains that the most ideal and "productive" naps last between ten and twenty minutes - with anything longer resulting in "sleep inertia" which is the confused, boggy feeling that is typically felt after taking a longer snooze.