Napping is the New Black

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Two snowstorms in two weeks have turned my thoughts to taking advantage of the dark, short days, and hibernation.  If only we were allowed, like bears, to turn off our metabolism, tuck in the kids, and wake up in April…..   Soon enough, however, we will be ushering in spring and sunnier days, and we may forsake napping, faces turned up toward the blue sky, for extra activity.  In the mean time, trust in the science behind the benefits of napping, yoga, meditation, and other related restoration:

Don’t brag about your sleep deprivation like you would brag about your new BMW.  We are no longer impressed.  Napping is the new black.

Research shows that napping and resting boost creativity and problem solving.  Scientists at NASA rely on rested astronauts to make 40% fewer mistakes.  Today, allow yourself to take a mindful siesta.  Make mid-day downtime a firm commitment in your schedule.  If you can actually lay down, do so for only twenty to thirty minutes.  The ideal nap is a light sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed, not groggy.  If you can’t lay down, you can rest by moving away from your computer and taking some gentle stretches.  If you absolutely can’t move away from your screen try a meditation app like calm.com or headspace and focus on your breathing, allowing yourself to luxuriate in a half-awake state.  Don’t brag about your sleep deprivation like you would brag about your new BMW.  We are no longer impressed.  Napping the new black.

Most Americans are sleep-walking around with a big sleep deficit.  If you are feeling fatigued consider the following.

1.  Go to sleep at the same time every night.

2.  Use your bed for sleep and (ah-hem) sex only.  That means not catching up on past seasons of Downton Abbey or Orange is the New Black.   Make eight hours of sleep the new black.

3.  Learn how to relax your mind and body on cue.  Don’t think this is possible?  Either did I but we can learn!  ( Ask anyone who knew me as a teen or young adult – Like most of us I was the opposite of mindful.)  Check out our post on Yoga Nidra to learn how to relax your body in an New York minute.

4.  Keep your naps short and toward the middle of the day – can’t stress this enough – especially if you struggle with insomnia.

5.  Choose tea and toast or milk and oatmeal as your evening snack over alcohol.

6.  Turn the lights out!  Especially computer screens.  Any blue light from LED screens tells your brain to stay awake.

Need more incentive to nap?  Visit the National Sleep Foundation website.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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