Healthier Lifestyles: There’s a nap for that!

Unplanned and entirely indulgent, the summer nap may be the ultimate luxury nowadays. Before you start asking, “who has the time to nap?” let me make my case for grabbing a quick snooze.

Comedian Carrie Snow once said, “No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.” I think she’s right. Not only does napping elevate your mood, make you more alert and enhance your physical performance (ever tried to run without sleep?), a daily nap may help save your life. Midday sleep or napping is associated with lower 24-hour blood pressure and supports a healthier lifestyle, according to a recent study published in the European Society of Cardiology. So, why do we think napping is only for kids, grandparents, and the sick?

Well, it could be that in our fast-paced, competitive society, we tend to believe those with a busy schedule are also highly successful — and that taking a nap is for lazy people. Yet, people across Spain, Greece, Italy, the Philippines, Nigeria and elsewhere have been enjoying naps or siestas for centuries. Furthermore, historians say ancient Islamic and Roman cultures started the daily afternoon nap trend long before that. There’s a reason for that: people tend to experience a quick burst of inspiration, creativity, and productivity after getting just a small amount of shut-eye.

Still, if you’re not completely sold on napping, consider the different types of naps that could work for you:

 

● Urgent napping – If you are in a situation where it’s dangerous for you and others if you don’t snooze, such as driving or working with dangerous machinery or tools, then don’t try to push yourself to get to your destination.  Pull off the road and get to a safe area to take a short nap.

● Power napping – Many corporations and CEO’s are beginning to embrace employee napping and some employers even provide sleep pods to nap in during your work day. So, if you find yourself fading or you can’t focus on that big project you can stop what you’re doing recharge for about 15 to 20 minutes with a nap.

● Planned napping – If you know ahead of time that you’ll need to be awake later one night, or you have an event or meeting that demands your full attention and best performance, then — you guessed it, take a nap.

● A nap a day — If you’re lucky enough to be able to do this, go for it.  Hey, it would be good if we all did it!

 

Are you fearful that taking a nap will worsen your insomnia? I say leave that worry behind! if napping is done at the right time for a brief period of time, it can actually help with your sleep. When you’re suffering from insomnia, the more exhausted you are, then the harder it may be for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Napping can ease exhaustion caused by insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Just as napping can give you a break from the symptoms of sleep disorders, it can give you a break from the daily grind. I agree with the National Sleep Foundation wholeheartedly in its recommendation that we think of napping as a mini-vacation within each day. Remember how I talked about timing? Well, the perfect time for your mini-vacay today is between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. You should snooze for 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re one of those people who says “I just can’t take naps,” you’ll want to know this: In Chinese medicine, it is thought that even the act of lying flat for 20 to 30 minutes in the middle of the day can be helpful. So if you think you can’t nap, then simply rest. Who knows? One day you may be surprised to find yourself relaxing enough to actually doze off for a few minutes!

Here are some other facts and support for naps that I hope will finally convince you to take a siesta:

 ● Yes, there are apps for better naps — try either renting relaxing spaces by the half hour with Breather, or follow user recommendations from Stereopublic to find the quietest spots in your city.

● Many famous people embrace or embraced napping — Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Lyndon B. Johnson, Salvador Dalí, Napoleon Bonaparte, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein, Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eleanor Roosevelt to name a few.

● Music can help you nap — The most relaxing music to nap to ACTUALLY exists. Science suggests this melody will get you to sleep quicker and more deeply.

● Sleep, the final frontier? —  In space, NASA astronauts found that they were 54% more alert after a quick nap.

 

If you think you have a sleep issue and want to explore ways to get to the bottom of it, please call us at 703-729-3420 or email us at info@comprehensivesleepcare.com.