Ahh, nap time! It’s an amazing time, right?
But how many of us get a chance to actually take advantage of a nap? I bet it’s not many. The unfortunate thing about this is, we might not be taking full advantage of the benefits of taking a nap.
So what are the benefits? There are actually a lot. For starters, naps can restore and increase alertness. You know that feeling when you just can’t use your brain anymore and want to turn it off? That’s the point when your brain is not alert anymore and needs to rest. Think of your brain like a muscle. When a muscle gets tired or sore, it needs to rest. When you take a nap, you’re resting your brain and helping it come back to normal. According to a study by NASA, even just a 40-minute nap can increase alertness back up to 100%!
Another benefit of taking naps is that performance can be enhanced and mistakes and accidents can be reduced. In that same study by NASA, the astronauts improved performance by 34%. It’s a small increase, but hey, it’s an increase! When you’re at work and you get that “2 o’clock feeling”, you just want to go lie down for awhile, right? I get that feeling regularly and I know by just taking a 15 to 20-minute rest I’ll be able to bring myself back into focus and keep working.
The third benefit, and my personal favorite, is all about the psychology. A nap can be seen as a luxury or a mini-vacation. A lot of people don’t have the time or money for luxurious vacations, but a nap might be the next best thing. It can be a quick way to get in some relaxation and rejuvenation. When you give yourself time to take a nap, you’re allowing yourself to get some extra rest. Maybe the rest you need to keep pushing through the day. And even though it’s quick, you might even get a chance to dream of that luxurious vacation.
Why am I bringing up naps? Because it’s getting closer to the holidays and it’s the perfect time to start making a habit of taking naps, even if it’s just on the weekend. Whether you take a spontaneous nap or schedule one, it can be a good thing! You might need that extra time for yourself and the extra rest to get through the rest of the year. When are you going to take your next nap?
One thing I’ve been noticing lately (a lot lately) is how the American population tends to always be on the go all the time, with no rest or relaxation. I see my friends and family always on the go. Whether they’re working at their 9-5, participating in family obligations or just doing meaningless activities that don’t necessarily add value to their lives, everyone seems to be busy all the time. Even as a health coach, I tend to be this way from time to time too. But what exactly is “busy”? While everyone defines busy differently, one thing I know is that we all can experience burnout from being busy.
When I started to research this burnout that I’ve been experience, I’ve always been told to go to the doctor and get treated. But no one has ever told me to just take a day and relax. Strange, isn’t it?! As a holistic health coach, I’m a big proponent for treating things naturally rather than popping a pill because the pill does not necessarily treat the actual reason for the condition, it just treats the symptoms. This is one of the reasons I ask “Why” all the time. I like to get to the bottom of things rather than jumping to conclusions.
I’ve started to research this burnout phenomenon and one interesting article I found was a comparison to the United States and Europe. The article was an eye opener into the different cultures and how people living in the United States live very differently from those living in Europe. The article gives 10 differences between the United States and Europe, but here are my biggest eye openers:
- Vacation – Most Europeans have a minimum of 4 weeks vacation and many take this time all at once rather than a few days at a time.
- Lunch Time – Europeans actually leave their desks during lunch time and many for an hour or more.
- Smaller Food Portions – The food portions in the United States are enormous compared to Europe. For comparison’s sake, a small soda or coffee in the United States is like a large in Europe.
These three stuck out to me because the directly effect stress and how we feel about ourselves. The note about lunch time is HUGE for me because at my full time job, I literally never leave my desk because I know how much there is to do and how much pressure is on me to reach the goals set for me by the company. Can you imagine a goal set on just one person to capture millions of dollars in savings in just one year? Yea, talk about pressure.
Here’s my call to action for you:
**Take time to rest and recover, even if it’s just a little time each week. **
I want you to do this a little bit at a time, baby steps, because it will help you. Be mindful with your decisions and how you make your choices in life because in the end, they will effect your stress level.