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In this study we have investigated the effectiveness of building "napping backbones" for data dissemination in wireless sensor networks. The NAPBACK protocol builds connected backbones whose nodes are endowed with a sleep/awake schedule that induces considerable energy savings, and hence prolongs the network lifetime. Via simulations on networks with up to 250 nodes we have observed increases on network lifetime up to almost 70% with respect to previous topology control protocols (S-DMAC). Increased latency is the price to pay for the improvements on lifetime, which currently makes NAPBACK a viable solution for delay-insensitive WSN applications. Multifold are the research directions opened by this initial study. We are planning to design different methods for defining the schedules of the backbone nodes. Final aims include the minimization of the latency, as well as throughput maximization. Sleep/awake scheduling methods should also be independent of nodes synchronization, and could be based on deterministic strategies, rather than the simple randomized technique used here.