As children we all took mid-day naps. When we were tired, we slept. If we didn’t sleep we got cranky. When we got cranky we would have a tantrum and/or cry. And yet, as adults very few of us are getting enough sleep, and even fewer of us nap. There seems to be a stigma attached to napping, and many people look at it in a negative light when really it is every bit as healthy for you as eating well and exercising.
Did you know that studies have shown that a 20 minute nap 8 hours after you get up gives you more stamina than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning?
Or that even a 6 minute nap can improve memory function?
I’m a big supporter of napping. As a fitness instructor with Fibromyalgia I need sleep. Lots of sleep, and if I don’t get it I don’t just get tired and cranky. I fall to pieces. I can’t focus, my brain feels like it stops working completely. My body aches from top to bottom, and even holding my arm up to brush my teeth takes more effort than I have to give. It’s pretty hard to function, never mind teach fitness classes when you feel like that.
Obviously, the key for us all is to get enough sleep each night, but like many of you I have problems both falling asleep and staying asleep. So how do I manage teaching 3 or 4 fitness classes in a day when I haven’t had enough sleep?
Sometimes it’s only for 20 minutes, other times it can be for 1, 2, or 3 hours depending on how much time I have and how much rest I feel I need. I know that my body doesn’t function well on less than 10 hours of sleep so when I know I’ve had a poor night’s sleep I really try to get in a mid-day nap somewhere.
Obviously most of you can’t take a mid-afternoon nap like I can (employers tend to frown upon that), but many people do get an hour long lunch break. One hour is more than enough time to have lunch and a 20 minute cat nap.
Back in my days as an office worker I had a co-worker who kept a pillow in his desk and napped on his lunch break. I’ve been known to go nap in my car, or even just lay my head on the desk of a few minutes. Even if you don’t go to sleep, relaxing or meditating for a few minutes can help revive you mid-day.
If a mid-day nap just isn’t going to happen, try to make time when you get home from work or after supper for a quick power nap. 20 minutes is just long enough to energize you for the evening without jeopardizing your sleep that night.
So I encourage you all you re-claim the nap! Even if you can only manage napping a few times a week, all those extra minutes of sleep add up and will really pay off.
Don’t worry – the dirty dishes will still be there when you wake up!
Suzi Fevens is a blogger and self-employed fitness & Zumba instructor living in Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two crazy cats. In addition to napping, Suzi enjoys eating cupcakes and pizza, watching movies and pretending she knows yoga.
You can read more about her life on her blog Confessions of a Fitness Instructor, or you can follow her on Twitter @suziconfesses, “like” Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on Facebook, subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on Pinterest.