The Power Of A Nap

    When energy naturally drops in the afternoon, coffee and sugar tend to be the usual stimulants of choice. But afternoon sleepiness is a biological rhythm related to a slight decrease in body temperature — nature is telling us that it wants us to take a nap. By attempting to ward off drowsiness with caffeine and sugary snacks, biorhythm is disrupted, extra calories are consumed and a rollercoaster ride of energy spikes and crashes begins. This vicious cycle contributes to unwanted extra pounds.

    Alertness, Improved Mood and Performance

    A mid-afternoon nap can help with depression, dullness and lack of clarity — all of which can hinder physical and mental performance. As seen in the Harvard Health Letter, a New Zealand study found that “air traffic controllers working the night shift scored better on tests of alertness and performance if they took advantage of a planned nap period of 40 minutes.”

    A nap can also:

    • Slow down or reverse the process aging
    • Increase the sex drive
    • Accelerate the ability to perform motor tasks
    • Enhance how the body uses carbs
    • Minimize stress hormones
    • Alleviate migraines
    • Reduce brain chatter before nighttime sleep

    Napping Tips

    Research has found that napping regularly may reduce stress and even decrease your risk of heart disease. To get the most out of a power snooze, follow these quick tips:

    1. Be consistent. Keep a regular nap schedule. Prime napping time falls in the middle of the day, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
    2. Make it quick. Set your cell phone alarm for 30 minutes or less if you don’t want to wake up groggy.
    3. Go dark. Nap in a dark room or wear an eye mask. Blocking out light helps you fall asleep faster.
    4. Stay warm. Stash a blanket nearby to put over you because your body temperature drops while you snooze.

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