(WellnessPursuits.com) – Napping is a habit most of us left behind in kindergarten, but if word got out how good it is for us, we might be ready to reclaim it as adults. Put that latte down and find out why a nap is one of the best things you can do for your body and your brain.
We Need More Rest Than We’re Getting
The CDC tells as many as one in three adults aren’t getting enough sleep. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee for an energy boost, we’re better off listening to our bodies and resting when we’re tired. Napping can get us right back in the range of the suggested minimum of 7 hours of sleep, with no cost and no fuss.
That doesn’t mean we have to give up caffeine altogether. Believe it or not, a nap combined with coffee may boost the effects of both of them.
Lack of Rest Affects Our Mood and Our Performance
You know those days where you have a million things to do and every one of them goes wrong? While napping won’t prevent the traffic making you late to your appointment, it can improve your response to minor annoyances. Getting enough sleep significantly helps anxiety, depression and irritability, while lacking it contributes to mood disorders.
Being well-rested improves your thinking, too. Although it’s usually not possible to stop everything and take a nap in a real bed, a catnap on a couch or in a chair can do the trick too. Try to find twenty minutes of quiet time in your day anywhere that can work for you. The results will be cumulative, and soon you’ll be better rested.
Getting Enough Rest Improves Our Nutrition Choices
When you’re tired, you’re more likely to crave foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, and sugar for an energy boost. Unfortunately, this burns off quickly and leaves you even worse than before. So you reach for another snack, and… you can see how this spirals out of control quickly.
When you’re rested, your body looks for foods that nourish you and provide stable, long-lasting energy. The next time you get a craving, ask yourself if a nap might be a better solution.
How to Optimize Nap Time
Believe it or not, the thought of napping for hours on end may seem mentally appealing, but it isn’t actually as helpful as we have been led to believe. As a matter of fact, experts recommend aiming for around a 20-minutes shut eye. Our individual sleep cycles and ages may dictate something just slightly longer or shorter, but we don’t actually want to dip too far into that sleep cycle during a nap.
A recent study found naps that were 25, 35 or even 45 minutes long were best. They reduce that feeling of fatigue and alleviate stress. Anything longer can make you feel groggier, as it’s more difficult to wake up from the deepest levels of sleep.
As you can see, napping really isn’t just for children. This quick, easy and free way of putting yourself back into balance is equally good for grownups. So, enjoy!
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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