Jan
6

The Time I Googled “How to Nap”

My body typically recovers pretty quickly from running.  However, I’ve had a nagging “cranky” Achilles that has continued to bother me for a few weeks.  Nothing like an injury to make me analyze my recovery strategy.  I’ve added the typical foam rolling, stretching, and PT, but the one thing I struggle with the most is REST.  I hate to sit still.  I’m a big time morning person (you can hate me now), but lately I’ve even been sleeping through my alarm.  It’s like my body is trying to tell me to get more rest.  So…I googled “how to nap.”

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I can’t remember the last time I took a nap, but I do remember fighting them as a kid.

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**Side note: If you google napping you will be inundated with pictures of cute kitten, puppies, and bunnies napping. If you need a smile, do it.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Nap from Michael Hyatt

1.  A nap restores alertness. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of 20–30 minutes “for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”

2.  A nap prevents burnout. In our always-on culture, we go, go, go. However, we were not meant to race without rest. Doing so leads to stress, frustration, and burnout. Taking a nap is like a system reboot. It relieves stress and gives you a fresh start.

3.  A nap heightens sensory perception. According to Dr. Sandra C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing, and taste. Napping also improves your creativity by relaxing your mind and allowing new associations to form in it.

4.  A nap reduces the risk of heart disease. Did you know those who take a midday siesta at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? Working men are 64 percent less likely! It’s true, according to a 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study said, “Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality.”

5.  A nap makes you more productive. Numerous medical studies have shown workers becoming increasingly unproductive as the day wears on. But a 2002 Harvard University study demonstrated a 30-minute nap boosted the performance of workers, returning their productivity to beginning-of-the-day levels.

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Tips on How to Nap:

The first thing you should know is, feeling sleepy in the afternoon is normal. It doesn’t mean you had a big lunch, or that you’re depressed, or you’re not getting enough exercise. That’s just how animals’ cycles work — every 24 hours, we have two periods of intense sleepiness. One is typically in the wee hours of the night, from about 2am to 4am, and the other is around 10 hours later, between 1pm and 3pm. If you’re a night owl and wake up later in the morning, that afternoon sleepiness may come later; if you’re an early bird, it may come earlier. But it happens to everyone; we’re physiologically hardwired to nap.

Keep the air temperature 1-2 degrees cooler than usual.

Be consistent. Try to nap at the same time every day. This helps stabilize your circadian rhythms and maximize the benefits.

Keep it short. Avoid “sleep inertia,” that feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come from awakening from a deep sleep. Set an alarm on your phone to avoid oversleeping.

Turn off the lights. Light acts as a cue for our bodies. Darkness communicates it is time to shut down—or go into standby mode. If you can’t turn off the lights, use a simple eye mask.

Use a blanket. When you sleep, your metabolism falls, your breathing rate slows, and your body temperature drops slightly. Though not imperative, you will usually be more comfortable if you use a light blanket when you nap.

Find a nice dark place where you can lie down. It takes about 50% longer to fall asleep sitting up (this is why red eye flights usually live up to their name), and be armed with a blanket; you don’t want to be chilly. You also don’t want to be too warm, which can lead to oversleeping.

White noise can help you fall asleep, especially during the day when construction crews, garbage trucks, barking dogs and other noisy awake-world things can conspire to destroy your nap. Keep a fan on, or turn on a nearby faucet for a pleasing rushing-river sound. (Just kidding about that last one.)

Don’t nap too close to bedtime, or you might not be able to fall asleep later. Remember, your inbuilt sleepy window is sometime in the early to mid-afternoon — try to nap then.

Wake up slowly. It will make you less cranky and get you motivated for the rest of the day.

Sometimes light can give you headaches after a light nap, try to gradually introduce your eyes to bright lights to avoid headaches.

Quit that silly job where they don’t let you take naps during the day.  And if you are at work, make sure nobody is watching you. Beware of the cameras and other people snooping on you.

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So, how long should you nap?

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I don’t think this thing would help!

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Here is an interesting article on The Healing Power of Naps

And another about Napping After Running

So…are you a napper?  Is it a daily ritual?  So, I’m still not able to nap, but I have been setting aside 30 minutes to sit and relax.  Maybe this will lead to napping:)

Do you have any tips for napping?

What time do you typically go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning?  I try to fall asleep around 10:30 and wake up around 5-5:30am.

#choosejoy

Join the Conversation

  • http://www.ksrunner.com Sarah @ KS Runner

    I would love to nap more than I do. I am especially tired today and fully plan to (attempt to) nap over my lunch break. Hopefully I don’t do the tired, head-nod thing during our staff meeting today. Hopefully resting will help your Achilles get back to normal quickly! I usually try to come up with a few projects to do that require that I sit for longer periods of time, that way I am engaged in something and feel productive rather than sitting in front of the TV or something. Good luck!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I dedinitely create projects that make me sit…like writing this blog!

  • http://travisandmarilynkeys.blogspot.com Marilyn

    This post is just all kinds of awesome! I am a champion napper. Having a nap is pretty much my favorite thing to do on the weekend! I don’t have any tips or “napping wisdom” to share, but I hope that sleeping in a little and relaxing more will help with your injury and keep you ready to run in 2015!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Im definitely a work in progress but all of this research taught me thst i should be resting more!

  • http://acupcakeformythoughts.weebly.com/ Jasmine

    This is so funny because my friends and I were just having a debate today about how much time is best to nap!! I nap occasionally but try not to because I know it messes up my sleep at night. However during the holidays I’m a napping queen, I think I napped almost everyday this Christmas holiday :) I hope your achilles start to feel better!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Thanks so much! Im on the road to recovery and doing my best to rest:)

  • suzysuzyheather

    YES! Yes! Naps are a beautiful thing. I rarely ever, EVER nap. But when I do, it happens all of a sudden, like my body just sorta crashes and burns. The Nap takes over, and there’s nothing I can do about it but to submit to its power. My body was usually in dire need of rest when it transpires that way!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Thats too funny! I think thats what my body is trying to tell me:)

  • http://eatprayrundc.com Eat Pray Run, DC

    love this! hilarious. i love afternoon naps on the couch with my pup. it’s our bonding time!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      That sounds so nice!

  • http://www.runningnreading.com Running ‘N’ Reading

    I love this; it’s pretty amusing to a person like me who NEVER has a problem napping – ha! :) I love naps; I rarely miss one on my days off from work (Saturday, Sunday) and whatever it is that’s going on has got to be pretty special for me to miss it. So far, my napping “habits” have never affected my overnight sleep; I try to make sure I’m awake again by around 3:30-4pm, though. Sunday – Thursday, I try to be in bed no later than 9pm and I get up around 4:15-4:30am. Cute post, Jen!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Im jealous of your napping ability! Also, i can see why you go to bed so early…4:15 is impressive!!

      • http://www.runningnreading.com Running ‘N’ Reading

        Hahaha! Thanks, Jen…I know that I am a morning exerciser, so I just have to get up early enough to get it done. After work…not so much. 😉

  • http://flyingfeetinfaith.wordpress.com Jess@Flying Feet In Faith

    First allow me say how impressive this post is! Lol you blogged everything I wanted to say but all the energy I had was to simply say be still. Ha. Who knew there was so much info on napping? I’m loving all the memes throughout the post too. 😉 as a pharmacy tech I had ZERO downtime to nap. So I’m quitting. I kid. But I am working towards a different career goal so fingers crossed…

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Thanks! I had a lot of fun putting it together:)

  • http://laurainlou.wordpress.com lmicklich

    I nap almost every day. There’s nothing better, to me, than having a hard workout in the morning, and then finding myself slipping into a much deserved nap after lunch. There are days, like rest days, that I don’t find myself wanting a nap, though, so I guess my advice is just to listen to when your body does & does not want one.

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Thats so impressive…and im a little jealous:)

  • http://www.marontherun.com Mar on the Run!

    hahaha, so funny! I wish I could nap. I’ve never been a middle of the day nap person unless I’m sick.

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Im glad to know im not the only one!

  • http://eathostrunstyle.blogspot.com Sun

    Great infographic about napping! I’ve never been one to take naps – mainly because I’m the type that ends up taking “bad naps”. Sounds like the key is sleeping a little less or a little more.

    I usually go to sleep around 10:30pm and wake up around 7am. I need my sleep :)

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I thought the data was really interesting!

  • natrunsfar

    Ah, lovely naps. I SO need to nap :)
    It is hard to find the time, but I try to on the weekends and when I am deep in marathon training.
    GREAT info!

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      Thanks!!!

  • http://seattlebootcamp.com Bobbi

    Naps seem so wonderful in theory, and when that obvious mid day feeling comes on I honestly think to myself; “if I just laid down I could definitely fall asleep”, then as soon as I lie down my mind perks right up and says “what in the heck are you thinking? it’s the middle of the day”. Or sometimes if I lie there for a while I’m not quite sure if I actually ever fell asleep or not. And when miracles happen and I do actually fall asleep I’m a complete mess for the rest of the day. Like Sasquatch mess. Grumpy, groggy, don’t know what day it is, kind of mess.

    • http://jenchoosesjoy.com jenchoosesjoy

      I have such a tough time trying to turn off my brain. I just lay there thinking about all the things i should be doing!

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