Nap Time!

My Mom recently shared an article with me about the benefits of napping.

I’m not a napper but there are days when I wish I was able to curl up on the couch for a nap.

I know others who can take in a 20 minute power nap during the course of their day and feel totally recharged in just that short time.

I don’t know about everyone else at my age, but I know from my own experience that the quality of my sleep at night has diminished considerably. The studies say that around age 60 we have lighter sleep and we awaken more often. Well I am now 60 and I can say I have entered the age of poor sleep.

We should strive for 7 to 9 hours of good sleep per night. If you can’t achieve that quota then it would be beneficial to add a daytime nap to your routine if you can find the time.

I tend to feel the need for a little nap in the mid-afternoon, before dinner preparation time. After coming out of a nap I feel energized, and I feel more engaged in preparing our dinner and am in a better frame of mind for the balance of the evening.

Did you know that sleep is cumulative? I did not know this but if you lose sleep one night you will feel it in the days to come, both physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s referred to as a “sleep deficit”.

I already function at an energy deficit with MS but add a sleep deficit to the mix and everything becomes more challenging for me. I have way less physical energy, mental clarity, lesser memory recall, less patience, poor motivation and overall poor total body functioning. My ability to do exercises in physiotherapy is tapped. The bottom line is I cannot function well when fighting a sleep drain.

Having a power nap in the middle of the afternoon can really help get you through the rest of your day. And believe it or not, experts advise to keep your nap to about 30 minutes.

The benefits of napping are many; from relaxation, reducing fatigue, increasing mental clarity, improving mood, better memory and quicker reaction time, stress reduction and more.

If you find yourself napping too long or too often during the day then you are not using napping for it’s intended purpose. Too much napping is detrimental to your nighttime sleep. If you are getting more than 30 minutes to an hour of napping in during the day you are chipping away at your deep sleep that should be happening to you through the night.

I know this to be true as my darling tends to fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon if he is not busy on a project, and also gets into a deep sleep after dinner, sometimes sleeping for 2 hours. Then when he gets into bed he falls asleep right away but finds himself wide awake at 4:00 a.m. I believe that is because those 2 hours of deep sleep he gets after dinner have chipped away at his nighttime sleep and waking at 4:00 is because his body says “okay, time to get up….you’ve had your 8 hours. Unfortunately 2 of those hours were experienced before he hits the bed. It’s habit forming….falling asleep after dinner. It’s a hard habit for him to break.

But, overall, a power nap in the mid to late afternoon carries with it some amazing benefits. So if you feel like napping is something that could help you perform better and be perky and happy the rest of the day then I say GO FOR IT!


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