Why It’s OK to Take a Nap
Learn all the benefits of napping
Jean Edelman: For decades, I’ve been a student of the healing arts, Reiki, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, plant-based and macrobiotic cooking. Join me on this journey and hear my word of the week. Great to be with you this week.
This week I want to talk about napping. How many of us are not getting the rest that we need? And we do need to reset and replenish ourselves and as I am still doing – recover and recuperate. And this is what I’m learning after my recent health event, listening to our bodies when it tells us it’s tired. It’s very, very important to rest. So research is showing that napping can influence our health and cognition. The micro naps can improve our alertness and charges our creativity.
So maybe you’re aware of it, but there’s very different stages of our sleep. The first stage is kind of when we doze off and we’re kind of in and out, and that’s about the first 5 minutes that we lay down. The second stage, this is where our breathing slows and our muscles relax and our body temperature falls and this is where our brain activity falls. And this stage is actually quite excellent for pushing our reset button, hence the power nap. And this usually lasts about 1 to 25 minutes. The power nap we’re going to come back to that.
Stage three is when our brain goes into the delta waves. This is about 40 minutes and this is where our biological system is recovering. And then stage four is our REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. In about 60 to 90 minutes into our sleep and our dreams are vivid. And this is where sleep is good for our creativity. But the nice thing the research is showing is that even if we don’t sleep well at night, we can take these power naps and they can help us.
And the reason that we really may want to try this is because our poor sleep will affect our cognitive function, our metabolism, our immune system, and our inflammatory systems. These relate to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, even early death. So the researchers are calling this our sleep debt. And as I shared, the good news is that our naps can actually save the day and counteract that poor sleep that we had the night before. And that power nap is providing all the benefits of a full night’s sleep only on a smaller scale.
Something I’ve learned in my recuperation is to actually schedule in my day a half hour actually ‘lights out’. Eye pillow over my eyes, just really because I’m still recuperating. So it’s really important. And if you don’t have good sleep, you need to do this. So here’s our action item for the week. If you’re not sleeping well, maybe you have a stretch of insomnia. Block out 15, 20 minutes in your day to lay down, sit in a good, comfortable chair, put an eye pillow over your eye, set the timer, put on some soft music.
But we really need to reset and restore because we’ve got to think of our cognitive health. We’ve got to think of our creativity. If we want to be worth something in our day, we really need to get this rest. And so I think it’s kind of cool that we now know that we can take a 20-minute nap. I mean, they do it in Europe. They take their siestas and they take their afternoon rest. So I think it’s a good thing. Over time, our body will get used to this little break. So maybe it’s from 2:00 to 2:20 PM every day. That’s your time. That’s your time to sit and relax and take your time off. Try it. That’s our action item for the week. So our word of the week is going to be real simple. It’s going to be NAP.
The N is for Nourish. We need to nourish ourselves. We need to nourish our immune system. Fresh air, clean food, good drinking water and rest. And sleep is the most important way to nourish ourselves.
The A is for Align. Life flows so easily when we’re in alignment and in balance. And that happens when we’ve had good rest. The lack of sleep throws us off kilter and so we feel out of control. We feel more stress. Our emotions get out of control. If we make the time for our nap, we will feel so much better and be able to manage our life much better.
And the P is for Pamper. You know what? It’s okay to take care of ourselves. And that may feel selfish and self-indulgent, but if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. And we must be in prime form every day.
We do this by making sure we have our rest. So I’m giving each and every one of you permission to pamper yourselves and take a nap. Have a great week, everyone.