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Editor's Correspondence
February 26, 2001

Are Afternoon Naps Health Hazards?—Reply

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(4):614-615. doi:

In reply

We appreciate Dr Rosner's addition of Moses Maimonides to our list of citations. Indeed, Maimonides' opinion about the health hazards posed by afternoon naps found almost unanimous acceptance in his times.

As Schipperges wrote in one of his books,1 Maimonides reminds us that, among his contemporaries, the debate about sleep and waking always centered on the tenets of Aristotle's treatise De Somno et Vigilia. According to St Albert the Great (circa 1200-1280), one should not sleep too much and not at all during the day. That was also the opinion of St Hildegard from Bingen (1098-1179), who claimed that human beings should never go to sleep soon after meals (when flavors, juices, and odors have not yet arrived at their natural destination) and that after lunch they should refrain from sleeping for some more time, because if they fell asleep right away, sleep would carry food flavors, juices, and odors to the wrong organs and would blow them away like dust, scattering them throughout the vascular system.1

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