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All About Napping

All About Napping

You might think that you got all you need to know from those times you fell asleep in your high school calculus class, but there is a lot more to napping than meets the eye.

You may be most familiar with the Spanish siesta. A cultural habit in Spain, as well as Spanish influence on other Hispanic countries and the Philippines, the word “siesta” derives from the Latin phrase hora sexta or “sixth hour” (counting from dawn, this is around midday). The concept also has a strong presence in Southern Italy, where museums, churches and shops close midday for riposo. In Japan, employees are often encouraged to take naps during the work day, not only to increase performance but also because the need for a nap supposedly shows that an employee is working hard.

Sleep itself is a vital necessity for our bodies and minds. Not getting enough sleep can cause physical health problems such as high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, weight gain, vulnerability to colds and flu, and even increased risk for more serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Risks for your brain include irritability, trouble focusing, poor reflexes, forgetfulness, and decreased coordination and balance. Continuous sleep deprivation is a problem and needs to be treated by lifestyle changes or a visit to a doctor, but naps can help temporarily remedy some of the side effects.

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Additionally, napping offers many benefits for those who more or less get a good amount of sleep but want a little boost during the day. Taking brief naps at a seasonable time during the day has proven to increase alertness, improve the ability to perform tasks, improve overall mood, increase creativity, and increase memory performance.

Think of it as a form of resetting your system. In fact, the idea that we are supposed to have one big sleep at night and stay awake until the following night is a relatively new one. Scientists now say we are actually hardwired to take naps or at least have more than one sleep per 24 hour cycle, and historians have found some evidence to back up this claim.

And while we’re talking about naps, here are some helpful tips to take a great one every day:

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– Nap at a regular time: Studies show the best time to nap is in the middle of the day, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
– Don’t make it long: Set an alarm on your phone for an amount between 20 and 30 minutes. Any more than 30 minutes and you will likely wake up feeling groggy for up to an hour after your wake, possibly for the rest of the day.
– Make sure to block out the light: Make sure the room you nap in is as dark as you can make it, or wear a sleeping mask. Blocking out light helps you fall asleep faster and have a more restful nap. (You can even get blackout curtains for your room for optimal sleep/nap conditions.)
– Keep yourself cozy: You sleep better when you’re comfortably warm, so keep a blanket on hand wherever you take your naps to keep out the chill.

Still feeling guilty about the possibility of a regular nap schedule? Here are famous people who were pro-nappers:

– Winston Churchill
– Thomas Edison
– John F. Kennedy
– Eleanor Roosevelt
– Napoleon Bonaparte
– Salvador Dali
– Albert Einstein

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So go on, learn all about napping with this nifty infographic, then have yourself a nice siesta. Chances are, you need it.

nappinginfographic

    Fore more scientific studies and useful information on napping, check out any of these articles:

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    How Naps Affect Your Brain and Why You Should Have One Every Day

    5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day

    The Science Behind Power Naps, and Why They’re So Damn Good For You

    Naps Clear Brain’s Inbox, Improve Learning

    Featured photo credit: Napping/Patio Productions via patioproductions.com

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

    More About Living a Fulfilling Life

    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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