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For decades, William Anthony has been defending people's rights to take naps while on the job — especially after Daylight Saving Time sets in.

"That's the day when most people are sleep-deprived," Anthony said.

A retired Boston University researcher known by his former colleagues as "the father of the recovery movement" and "Napman," Anthony is the brain behind National Napping Day, which each year falls one day after clocks are set ahead by an hour.

As workers slog to their jobs, adjusting to the new spring schedule, Anthony says they should take an opportunity to make up for lost time by replacing their coffee break with a little rest and relaxation.

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"You're not working any less. And you'll be working more efficiently," he said.

Anthony, who no longer conducts research about napping, but nods off at least twice a day, said he and his wife coined the term National Napping Day in 1999, based on his findings.

As a daytime-sleeping advocate with two napping books and decades worth of research under his pillow, Anthony has argued that resting for 20 minutes in the middle of the afternoon helps boost productivity, improve memory, reduce stress, and spur creativity.

"I test it constantly. I have my own personal laboratory right here in my den," the retired professor said.

The idea for the "unofficial holiday" was inspired by the sluggish feeling that workers endure when returning to work as they readjust their internal clocks.

"It was a natural way to create publicity around the benefits of napping," he said.

Over the years, Anthony has been chastised for his promotion of sleeping on the job, with some telling him that it encourages laziness.

But others have hailed the "Napman" for his advocacy, which he believes helped get more "nap rooms" in offices across the country.

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While it's easier for Anthony to snooze throughout the day since he's no longer working, he said it's all about finding the right opportunity to squeeze in a nap, in order to reap the benefits.

It's also important to find a place where one can avoid "Nappus interruptus," and not be bothered mid-slumber.

"There's nothing worse than getting interrupted in the middle of a great nap," he said. "It's the no cost, no sweat way to physical and emotional health."


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.