Napping is a powerful tool. This way of life is incorporated into some cultures, but not in America. Everything is hustle, bustle, move as fast as humanly possible. When we think of napping, we think of being lazy or unambitious. This is something people with time on their hands do. However, naps have powerful abilities to provide a pathway to better physical and mental health.
Be a Cat
Few animals in the world sleep all their sleeping hours at once. The rest of the animal kingdom alternate sleep and wake cycles within a 24 hour period. The ideal pattern for human sleep is called biphasic-a long stretch at night along with a shorter respite during the day. Ancient Romans were biphasic sleepers. At the sixth hour, everyone turned in for midday shut eye. This is where ‘siesta’ comes from. Western business practices are creeping in and changing this way of life. The pace of modern life can change how we sleep but it also shifts our ability to really rest and feel healthy long term.
When you consider what the true benefits of napping are, think of little children. As they grow, they need a daily nap until at least age 3 or 4 years of age. Even then, quiet time in the afternoon provides parents and children a good respite from the world. Some of the same benefits for children can be extended to adults:
- Increased alertness: a 40 minute nap increases alertness by 100%. A 20 minute nap is more effective than either 200 mg of caffeine or a bout of exercise.
- Improves learning and working memory. Naps improve working memory involved in working on complex tasks where you have to pay attention to one thing while holding other things in memory. Napping improves memory retention. During sleep, memories are transferred to the neocortex, where long-term memories are stored.
- Increased creativity: napping improves sensory perception. It improves your creativity by loosening up the web of ideas in your head and fusing those parts together
- Improves mood: serotonin regulates mood, sleep, and appetites. It produces feelings of contentment and well-being. When bodies are stressed, higher levels of serotonin are used and production is blocked. We may become anxious, irritable, depressed, and distracted. Napping bathes your brain in serotonin.
The perfect nap for everyone is 90 minutes long. The nape will consist of optimal balance of different sleep stages. The ratio of sleep stages mirrors nocturnal sleep. Not everyone has an hour and a half to nap but sometimes you tailor it for your needs that day. These recommendations can help boost creativity, kickstart your day, and give you a better pathway to healing your brain and body. Work on building stamina with a power nap and find ways to relax that are not in front of a screen prior to bed. Look for ways to squeeze a nap in at lunchtime or on your breaks to keep you from feeling totally fried for the whole rest of the day. If kids and cats do it, maybe it is not such a bad thing to try.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.