I love an afternoon nap!  When I wake up, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day and evening.

I am not alone.  Winston Churchill also loved to nap.  He believed you get twice as much done if you nap!  “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces… Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one — well, at least one and a half,” he said.

I have always loved a Sunday afternoon nap.  There is something quite indulgent about snuggling up with a book and then allowing yourself to close your eyes and head to dreamland in the middle of the afternoon.

I also have great memories of that nap at the end of nursery school or kindergarten.  Bliss.

To nap or not to nap?

I have recently being experiencing a flare.  My pain levels are off the charts and this makes me grumpy.  To be honest I have also had a niggling feeling that the depression that I have kept at bay for many years is creeping back.  The weather isn’t helping – in Ireland has been dull, grey and rainy for months.  I really don’t like taking antidepressants (although I would never rule them out). What I could do to help myself?

I sat with my journal and tried to figure out how to get though this rough patch. The first thing I realised is that I must be absolutely diligent with my exercise.  Exercise gives you endorphins – happy hormones so this was an easy fix. It is easy when you are not feeling great to skip, but that is the last thing I needed.  You can read about my wonderful trampoline routine here.

The second thing I realised is that an afternoon nap might help.  It was around 5 pm that I was feeling completely overwhelmed by pain and low mood.  I wondered if a nap might help.

An afternoon nap definitely helps

After a few days of my new routine, exercise first thing, eating as well as possible and my nap I started to feel a bit better.  The late afternoon dips were gone and I felt more able to cope.

There seems to be some evidence to back this up.  According to WebMD Napping isn’t just for babies. Studies show that an afternoon nap is great for adults, too. There’s no need to feel lazy for indulging in daytime sleep. A short nap in the mid-afternoon can boost memory, improve job performance, lift your mood, make you more alert, and ease stress.

Dr. Sara Mednick, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life has some interesting thoughts.  In an article on www.time.com she is quotes as saying that naps are good for most people.  Mednick says. her research shows a nap—defined as daytime sleeping that lasts between 15 and 90 minutes—can improve brain functions ranging from memory to focus and creativity. “For some people, naps are as restorative as a whole night of sleep,” she adds. More research shows a quick nap can lower stress and recharge your willpower. And napping has also been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

It looks like my instincts to take an afternoon nap are good.  My research did show however that if you are very sleepy and feel like you need to sleep all the time, there could be an underlying cause.  If in doubt please consult your doctor.

For me though I am off upstairs for a little shut-eye.

Thanks for reading and sharing my journey.

Kerry x

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