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Matt McGuigan/the Gauntlet

Don't be hating on the Toronto Transit napper

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Controversy reigned in Toronto over the holidays, but for once it wasn't about the sub-par Toronto Maple Leafs or a garbage strike. On this occasion, Torontonians were all riled up about naps.

Toronto Transit Commission fare collector George Robitaille kicked up the controversy several weeks back when he was photographed napping in his ticket booth around 10 p.m. on January 9. Angry citizens flooded talk radio and the internet, complaining that their tax dollars are paying people to sleep. However, perhaps these people are just jealous that they can't take a nap. In a way, Robitaille is a national hero. After all, who doesn't want to nap at work? Work is often tiring and strenuous, but it can also be tedious and boring. Either way, a wonderful nap eases the suffering.

Naps, if timed properly, increase alertness. Naps also cut down on the amount of downtime in your life. This has the two-pronged effect of making you more productive to compensate, as well as making your time inherently more valuable. Plus, instead of screwing around on Facebook or YouTube, employees would strive to get their work done in a shorter period of time and develop more efficient methods. In a society where naps are permitted, the average person would be a better worker and develop better habits as a result of being well-rested.

Studies have shown that naps should be kept under 30 minutes, as naps longer than that can cause sleep inertia, making the napper actually groggier after the nap than before. The intuition makes sense, particularly when applied to the workforce -- employees taking a 20-minute nap after lunch can digest their food without worry while getting much-needed rest. Nobody really does that much work immediately after lunch anyway. Why not utilize the time in a more productive manner?

In addition to the productivity benefits, studies have shown that people that sleep more frequently are generally healthier and live longer. If you sleep more, thus, you can channel the benefits over an even longer time-frame. The medical community recommends that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep per day. Given the commitments of the modern person, how can this amount of sleep be achieved? Naps. Seven hours of sleep accompanied by an after-lunch nap would put the napper smack-dam in the mid-range of the recommended sleep level, without making anyone sleep in or go to bed early. Simply put, naps extend lives and make the world a better place.

Don't hate on the TTC napper, friends. Instead, channel your envy into something much more productive -- a nap of your very own. When all of us are napping equals, only then can society truly be productive and free.

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