I admit right here and now that I am a napper. I used to be ashamed of this little “time out” time. I covered myself in guilt if I did what my grandmother called, “resting her eyes”. If I got caught dozing, nodding off or down right snoozing I would jump right up and get back at being busy. No More. I embrace this perfect little time to chill out and appreciate the opportunity to recharge when I need it.
My parents were really good at being Sunday afternoon nappers. Growing up, I thought it was a ridiculous waste of time! My mom was also really good at getting a little shut eye sitting in her chair. Now I say, good for her! She must have needed a little rest. My sons, if ever given the chance, are world class nappers. They can sleep so deeply that you would think they were in comas. I know how busy they are and how much they do need sleep so I just tip toe out and close the door. In our ridiculously busy, go-go-go world, I think we all could use a little nap now and then.
During law school, I spent some time going to school at the University of Madrid in Spain. I had always heard about the Spanish siestas, but actually thought that was just talk. Well, those Spanish folks had it right! The entire city shut down during the middle of the day – businesses close, the streets become empty. Folks go home to their families and have lunch and take a rest. Then, they can come back to their day refreshed and energized for the afternoon. Our workaholic society frowns upon napping. They are looked on as something only lazy folks do. Well, let me tell you how wrong that is! A nap can be one of the most powerful tools for improvement of our health. It increases our mental alertness, intelligence and productivity. (In fact, some famous nappers were far from lazy! Napoleon, Churchill, JFK and Eidson were supreme nappers!)
Have you ever wondered why your dogs and cats seem to sleep all day? They aren’t being lazy; they just don’t do all their sleeping all at once. Most animals sleep in cycles, alternating sleeping and waking time during the 24 hour period of a day. For humans it can also be hard for us to get our sleep all in at one time. Some of us have a really hard time getting a full night’s sleep. Are you with me on this? When was the last time you slept through the night and woke up feeling rested? I have a really hard time falling asleep and can count on three fingers the nights I have slept through the night. I get up several times and have a difficult time getting back to sleep. Sometimes, nighttime can be a frustrating stretch of hours.
We all know how important sleep is to our well-being. I mean, we can’t even think straight when we are tired and sleep deprived! That’s why a nap is not something to feel guilty about! That little time out, or resting your eyes, can refresh you to get through the rest of the day. So here are SEVEN reasons you should grab a nap when and if you need it.
7 REASONS TO TAKE A NAP!
1. Mental Alertness. If your head is nodding and you are feeling foggy and lethargic, then get a little nap and back to your day. A 20 – 30 minute nap can increase your alertness up to 100%. That can be really important, depending on what you are doing with your day. We’ve all almost nodded off at the wheel at some time or other. We definitely know how dangerous that can be. . . .
2. Increase Memory. That little nap can help you retain information from your short term and long term memory. “Napping also improves your memory retention; during sleep, recent memories are transferred to the neocortex, where long-term memories are solidified and stored.”
3. Increase Productivity. Sometimes we are so tired but so busy we think we don’t have time for a nap. However, the nap would be the smarter choice, as studies have shown that working while sleep deprived makes us much less productive. “It would be better to take a 30 minute nap and return to your work refreshed.”
4. Increase Creativity. Napping improves sensory perception just as much as a night of sleep. This means we are more sensitive to tastes, colors, sounds and touch. Being more in tune with our senses helps our creativity flow more easily.
5. Improve Health. We know how important sleep and rest is for our well being. Sleep deprivation brings an increase in the hormone cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Having too much cortisol in the body leads to weight gain, weaker immune systems and decreases the growth hormone and testosterone in our bodies. When we sleep, your body releases the growth hormone which boosts your immune system, reduces stress and anxiety and helps with repairing the muscles and weight loss. Your body rests and your muscles grow while you sleep.
6. Makes You Happy. When we are tired we become irritated, depressed, distracted and grumpy. When we are tired our body does not release the serontonin that helps our mood, sleep and appetites. Napping brings serotonin back to the body and making us happy.
7. It Is Free. Taking a 20 minute power nap doesn’t cost a thing! So instead of spending money on an energy drink, a caffeine fix or sugar burst to get through the day, save the cash and get a little rest.
So, here are SEVEN reasons to NOT feel guilty about taking a little snooze! I know we can’t take that time every day, but believe me, when you can sneak a little shut eye, take advantage of it! Just take a nap! Then power through your day!
How do you power through your day? Are you a napper? Do you feel guilty for napping? Or do you know how lovely it is?
PS Don’t forget about the MealEnders Giveaway and Promo that ends at MIDNIGHT!