When our daughter was little, she would shout, “Napping is for the weak!”
Which was super annoying, obviously, but we’ve forgiven her. Despite for her love for Alexander the Great (who definitely took naps), she truly fed into the Western culture ideal that napping means that you’re either weak minded or weak bodied. We as cultures are so anti-napping that we medicate our bodies with caffeine to make it through the day. The British have a four o’clock tea time.
Sleep makes your brain work better. It’s legit your body’s best friend. And naps are a part of that.
Imagine your health is a three-legged stool, right? One leg is sleep. One leg is eating healthy. One leg is exercise. We focus a lot of money and time on two of those legs, but blow off the third and that makes the whole damn stool wobbly.
Adults are meant to sleep between 6-10 hours a night. And according to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans don’t get six hours a night. So, that’s a problem.
All the self-help people say the same things. You want to go to sleep at the same time at night. You want to wake up at the same time. Set your damn alarm. Cover your windows, don’t look at screens before bed. Blah. Blah. Blah. We hear it all the time.
But how about a nap? How does this help things? It’s all about the brain.
Well, a brain has neural circuits.
A neural circuit according to The Psychology Dictionary is
“The structural arrangement of neurons and their interactions with each other when placed end-to-end. Circuits typically completed one task, such as forming a negative feedback loop opposed to multi-tasking.”
A nap resets those circuits and that needs to happen. You want to not sleep more than 40 minutes, but at least five. And the best time to do that is in the afternoon usually, not close to your actual bedtime but after lunch like in many Southern European and South and Central American cultures.
According to Will Parker at Scienceagogo.com,
“New experiments by NIMH grantee Alan Hobson, M.D., Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., and colleagues at Harvard University show that a midday snooze reverses information overload and that a 20 percent overnight improvement in learning a motor skill is largely traceable to a late stage of sleep that some early risers might be missing. Overall, their studies suggest that the brain uses a night’s sleep to consolidate the memories of habits, actions and skills learned during the day. The bottom line: we should stop feeling guilty about taking that “power nap” at work or catching those extra winks the night before our piano recital”
When you nap, your limbic systems get all activated and that is the emotional center of the brain. So once it is activated it lowers monoamines, which actually are depression reducers. They reduce anxiety and are used to treat schizophrenia. Napping lowers the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes.
Naps are rock stars for making you feel better and healthier. That’s why we talked about them back in May, too. Look, Alexander the Great never lost a battle in fifteen years, named dozens of cities after himself and he napped. You can, too.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Sparty the dog says that you should really revolve your life around your naps and not vice versa.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!