Last month, I wrote a post about the benefits of adequate sleep. Although it’s most convenient to get our sleep needs met all at once during the night, that’s not always feasible, as there are many factors that can hamper a good night’s sleep: stress, disruptions from pets, a snoring spouse, or simply an evening activity that lasts past one’s usual bedtime. What’s the solution? Why not try taking a midday nap?
I stumbled across a blog posting entitled Reboot Your Brain—and Get Smarter—with a Midday Nap. Written by a clinical psychologist specializing in sleep disorders, the article touts the benefit of napping. Research claims that napping restores the brain’s ability to retain new information. Taking a nap is like clearing short-term memory storage in order to prepare the brain for new input.
I myself am a strong believer in the refreshing benefit of naps. I’ve been known to take naps at all hours of the day, and I’ve even squeezed in short power naps in my car during lunch breaks. I would take a nap most days of the week if I could. With life’s obligations, it isn’t always possible to take a midday nap, but it certainly would be beneficial to most people.
In his post, the sleep psychologist offers some tips for napping. Here are a few of my own:
- Pick a time when you feel ready to sleep. Don’t try to force yourself to sleep until you feel you’ve reached your window of opportunity for resting.
- Once you are in a comfortable position, take several deep breaths to relax your body.
- Notice any tension in your body. Try to let your muscles go completely limp.
- Try to clear your mind of extraneous thoughts by focusing on your breathing. Don’t allow yourself to entertain any thoughts that pass through your mind.
- Find the ideal amount of time needed to feel refreshed. The ideal time frame for me is about 30 minutes. This allows about 5-10 minutes to completely relax and get comfortable, and 20-25 minutes of actual sleep time. This may vary from person to person, but an hour is probably too long for most people, as a long nap may cause grogginess and interfere with the following night’s sleep.
So, have you had your power nap today?
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