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Are You a Napper

February 21, 2023
by ChristinaV | For Seniors


Are you a Napper?

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Regardless of our age, if we find we need to take a nap during the day, we do so because our body is telling us that we need to rejuvenate.  Not everyone can or wants to nap, but for those who do, they are responding to their body.

In today’s society we often try to be as productive during our waking hours as possible, especially if we still work full-time, care for children, a home, etc.   And even though constantly being in a productive mode may allow us to accomplish a great deal, it can also lead to exhaustion.  We may feel like taking a nap, but are guilty about taking even a few minutes of rest.  Wanting to rest does not mean that we are lazy or even that you did not get enough sleep the night before.  It is simply our body telling us that we need to reboot and is usually experienced by most during the afternoon.  In some countries, taking a nap or siesta in the afternoon is considered a natural part of everyone's day.

When we nap, our minds and bodies are able to take a little break, which can be beneficial to babies, children, adults, and seniors alike.  How long you nap is up to you and your body.  Ten to thirty minutes a day may be enough to relax and energize and, over time, may improve your memory and heart health, sharpen your senses, and put you in a cheerful frame of mind.  Napping for this amount of time is unlikely to interfere with your nighttime sleep if you do it early in the afternoon.  Naps after 3:00 p.m. could interfere with your nighttime sleep.

If you are going to nap, do not feel guilty about it.  Find a quiet, peaceful location and give yourself permission to fall asleep.  In order to fully enjoy the benefits of an afternoon snooze, you need to give yourself permission to do so.  If possible, try to nap at the same time each day, and use an alarm clock to ensure that you don't sleep for too long.  Sleeping longer than thirty minutes may result in sleep inertia, which is the groggy feeling you have when you sleep for too long during the day.

Napping is not for everyone and can cause more harm than good for some.  If you find yourself unable to fall asleep during the day or are too groggy when you awake after a ten-to-thirty minute nap, then it may not be for you so listen to your body and decide what is right for you.  And always consult with your primary care physician regarding any issues you may be experiencing with sleep.

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