We thought it would be fun to start this blog with a trip down memory lane, back to the days when we were children full of energy. Do you remember when your loving parents announced it was time for an afternoon nap?
Just the thought of having to stop playing and go to your room for a nap was enough to send you into a frenzy of hysterical crying. If you were like most children, you were a stubborn little rebel who was determined not to close your eyes for fear of missing out on some amazing adventure.
Times have changed! Now that we’ve traded childhood adventures with adult responsibilities, the story couldn’t be more different. As adults, we find ourselves longing for beloved afternoon naps like never before. The regrets! If only we knew then how much we would treasure and wish for the magical power of an afternoon nap.
Have you ever wondered about the science behind a nap? According to a recent article on the Sleep Foundation’s website, a nap is simply a mini version of a full night’s rest. Your brain experiences cycles when you drift off to sleep like a dishwasher going through specific wash and rinse cycles.
The article goes on to explain how a nap begins with light sleep stages, known as stage 1 and stage 2 sleep, then progresses into the deep and refreshing stage 3 sleep. Finally, reaching the rapid eye movement (REM) stage 4 sleep, where dreaming takes place. This cycle repeats throughout the night, with varying lengths of each stage.
You may be wondering; how long is a beneficial nap? Experts agree that a nap of around 20 minutes is ideal. This amount of time allows you to enter stage 2 light sleep, which can leave you feeling mentally sharp and more alert. However, be cautious of longer naps that push you into stage 3 deep sleep. While this type of sleep is restorative, waking up suddenly can leave you feeling groggy.
It’s important to remember that naps are not a cure for poor nighttime sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation’s website, if you consistently struggle with sleep issues, relying on naps alone is only a temporary solution. Insomnia, for instance, requires a more comprehensive approach.
While those who struggle with sleep apnea might sleep through the night, their breathing problems disrupt the restorative sleep their bodies need. The Sleep Foundation’s website emphasizes that it’s important to address the root causes of sleep problems with your healthcare provider.
The good news is napping is not just a guilty pleasure but a scientifically supported way to enhance your mental clarity and energy levels. A short snooze of about 20 minutes can work wonders if you avoid disrupting your nighttime sleep schedule.
So, find a cozy spot, close your eyes, and allow yourself to drift off into dreamland.
Now go take a nap! You owe it to your inner child.
In partnership with WCH, the Foundation focuses on improving, growing, and adapting to meet the ever-changing health and wellness needs of the rural communities we serve.
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