|Me trying to nap on the plane. |
This is how my husband passes
his time on the plane, photographing
me. Nice, huh?
I’ve been traveling for two weeks—first to Hawaii (I know, poor me, waa waa waa) and then to North Carolina to help my mom move into her new house and finally, to South Carolina for my cousin’s wedding. Between jet lag, moving boxes, and wedding festivities, I’m exhausted.
Pulling in to my driveway yesterday evening, I was disappointed that it was only 5:30 pm. Too early to go to bed, I reasoned. So I waited until 7:00 pm before stumbling upstairs and collapsing onto my mattress.
My current state of being reminded me of the following quote:
“Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.” --Ashleigh Brilliant
I don’t know who Ashleigh is, but she is definitely brilliant.
In a world dominated by deadlines, headlines, and grocery lines, this quote reminds me that it’s okay to give in to tiredness, to allow myself to recover, even (gasp!) take a nap.
What is it about the American culture that shuns napping? Who decided napping was equivalent to laziness? My guess is—it was a man, because any mother of a screaming toddler knows the magic of naptime.
Well, naps are finally getting the accolades they deserve.
A six-year Greek study found that those who took a 30-minute nap at least three times a week had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death. How about that!
Other studies show that taking a nap is a great way to increase alertness and reaction times, improve mood, and reduce accidents. And let’s face it, napping just feels good. There’s nothing like waking from a power nap feeling refreshed and ready to go.
I know what you’re thinking. “I’d love to nap Dianna but my boss isn’t exactly nap-friendly.” Yeah, that’s a problem, but all is not lost. Meditation has similar benefits and might be an easier sell to your employer. You could meditate during the workweek and save your naps for the weekend.
But before you hit the hay, there are a few rules to follow.
First, don’t sleep for more than 30 minutes. If you push it much longer you’ll enter a deeper stage of sleep which is harder to awaken from, and when you do wake up, you’ll feel groggy. Not exactly the effect you’re going for.
Second, don’t nap too late in the day. If it’s closer than three hours before bedtime, a nap will throw off your nighttime sleep. Experts say between 2 pm and 4 pm is the ideal time, when your body rhythms naturally dip.
Third, don’t nap at all if you suffer from insomnia. In this case, napping is actually counterproductive as it perpetuates bad sleep habits.
After my two weeks of travel I’ve got to catch up on mail, go to the grocery store, return a bunch of phone calls, clean out my email inbox, do laundry, and God knows I need to get to the gym, but first, I think I’ll take a nap.