Take A Nap

No seriously. Take a nap. It is good for you.

Lately I have started reading up on the circadian rhythm which is the cycle our bodies go through during the day. This also explains what times we feel sleepy and when we should be sleeping. Have you ever noticed about midday, usually after lunch that you start to feel a little drowsy? That is connected to the circadian rhythm and is suggesting to your body that you need a rest. The problem is that our industrious society and culture doesn’t like to take breaks. Many of us Nine-to-Fivers are left to “power through” these energy doldrums and not take the rest that we need.

Showing great Cat Nap form! Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

In the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, he talks about monophasic (one concentrated bout of rest) and biphasic (a large rest with a small rest in the middle of the day) sleeping structures. He mentions how many human cultures engaged in biphasic sleep structures including the west until the early modern period (16th century onwards). Now in our industrialized societies that are constantly left alert and awake by technology, we struggle to get one good night of sleep let alone a midday rest. We need to correct this. Our very health depends on it!

As a new parent, I am quickly understanding why my father was always caught napping on the couch. He was likely exhausted by antics (I was a busy kid). I say this because I am often exhausted and my daughter isn’t even ten months old yet. Therefore, it really helps to boost my energy and my mood when I have a quick thirty minute nap. Not only do I feel refreshed but I feel happier. Sleep and hunger have a stronger connection to our well-being than we oft give credit (you’ve heard of hangry to denote someone who is irritable due to hunger, well how about tangry for tired and angry?). In our very busy lives, we need more quality rest. I believe that naps will help with this.

In conclusion, this article serves as a quick public service announcement to bring back the siesta! Doesn’t have to be long either, in fact thirty minutes is optimal (having more than this could affect the quality of your night time sleep). Not only will you feel the immediate health benefits of an improved mood and feeling refreshed but it can also help in reducing the risk of heart disease and premature death.[1] This is because sleep is the bodies way of repairing itself. So take my word for it, instead of having an afternoon latte to jolt you back up- try looking for a place to take a snooze.

Thanks for reading!

R.G.


[1] Based on a study done at Harvard University on communities that take afternoon naps versus ones that do not. Of the volunteers, those that participated in not taking naps were 37 percent more likely to develop heart disease and die than those that had naps. These numbers were even higher in individuals in labour intensive occupations. Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep, Pg.71.

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