This was my view when I took a very rare Sunday afternoon nap today. We have a hammock under the crabapple tree in my backyard that I took advantage of on this beautiful, warm not hot, dry afternoon. It’s a rare day in August when you find such extraordinary weather here in beautiful rural New Jersey.
Taking a short nap is one of the best thing you can do for your body, mind and spirit, especially if you are sleep deprived. The problem I have when I nap is that I fall victim to “sleep inertia”, which is that heavy grogginess you feel when you sleep longer than 15-30 minutes. Instead of feeling refreshed, you feel tired and out of sorts. However, if you are able to limit your nap time to a short cat nap, you can enjoy several benefits that may surprise you.
- it can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of coronary mortality
- it can calm your nerves
- it can increase alertness – take a short nap before a drive to reduce drowsiness
- it can improve your memory
- it can enhance your creative thinking – think Thomas Edison
- it can enhance your willpower
- it can be better than coffee to enhance performance and increase learning skills
As we get older, we tend to get 2-3 hours less sleep each night than we did when we were younger. We still need between 7-9 hours each night but it isn’t often that we can accomplish that. Napping helps to take some of the edge off of the lack of nightly sleep.
This article talks about a study done on men and women ages 50-83 and the positive impact napping had on the amount and quality of their sleep and the results of the cognitive assessments performed on them at the end of the study.
The bottom line is…a little midday shut-eye is just what the doctor ordered. I may try to get more of it myself and maybe you should too.