Churchill was right – there is nothing like a good nap

Sir Winston Churchill was known to have a sharp wit. PIcture: WIKICOMMONS/YOUUF KARCH

Sir Winston Churchill was known to have a sharp wit. PIcture: WIKICOMMONS/YOUUF KARCH - Credit: Archant

James Marston on the value of napping - and taking time for yourself

As the most regular readers among you might know I am currently training to be a priest in the Church of England.

To do this we have to study theology.

And as you might imagine this takes up quite a lot of my time. Student life – in Cambridge – 20 years or so after my first degree is a lot of fun, if a bit odd second time around.

The thing that is odd is the Wednesday afternoon off – I suspect originally for games and sporting pursuits. Built for comfort not speed, I've never been one for too much sport – except racing on Newmarket Heath and it's the horses that do the running there – so instead, and particularly in this cold weather, I've occasionally indulged myself in a little post-luncheon nap.

I think it's a rather sensible thing to do.

In fact I've been doing a little research and it seems that naps are really good for your health.

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n Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents.

n Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.

n Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.

n Napping can reduce blood pressure and stress.

n It can improve mood and reduce anxiety

n It's good for the skin, the heart and mind.

n It helps prevent diabetes.

n The Romans used to do it, as did ancient man – it's natural.

Napping, it seems is a good thing. It is a healthy habit.

Apparently Sir Winston Churchill managed on just four hours sleep a night during the Second World War – but insisted on a two-hour afternoon nap.

These days we think we need to be busy and awake all the time.

Our ability to rush about almost defines us, even our leisure time involves activity, doing things and then posting it all over social media.

Training to be a priest has taught me, among other things, that simply being, standing still and thinking, taking time out and reassessing who we are and where we are going in life – whether you believe in God or not – is no bad thing.

Taking a moment to look at yourself, stopping for a moment on the relentless treadmill – if you dare – can make all the difference.

Having an afternoon nap and relaxing for just a bit might be the first step.

Do you swear by a nap? Has making sure you sleep enough helped you? Is James right? Write to him at

James's Mailbag

I was sent the thought provoking and interesting letter below by regular reader Bill. I thought you might like to read it too.

Hello James.

I have not been in touch for a while as a result of being on one of our trips to Morocco. My wife and I have been coming to this lovely country in the winter for eight years now,

Our lives have been enriched by the many lovely people we have met on our campervan journeys. After touring all over this fascinating country we discovered a more restful base just north of Agadir to which we have been coming for several years. During this time we have made many friends of these Arabic and Berber people.

This interaction has led to me contemplating both the similarities and the differences in our daily lives.

If we are to believe in 'our' God then I think we must allow for them to believe in theirs. I know, I know, the one true God and all that, but I have found it difficult not to allow for the wider possibilities and to speculate that if there is more than one God then maybe they know each other.

I would like to think so anyway.

Just a thought.

Kindest regards Bill.

If you would like to write to James and share a view or a thought please do so at