To Nap Or Not To Nap, That Is The Question.
If someone told me when I was 5 that I would be writing a blog article on the art of the nap, I would say it makes perfect sense haha! In all honesty, I have some insight for you on sleep patterns and some good thoughts on sleep in general. So many of our key indicators on well being, come from the amount of quality sleep we are getting. Today it is more difficult than ever to get quality sleep. So much of our culture revolves around glorifying over-working, waking up early, not prioritizing eating etc. We also have enormous external factors with the added pressures and stress of technology and the ever increasing need for workplace productivity and meeting deadlines. We're consuming more caffeine than ever. We are getting so far away from the roots of who we are in the pursuit of profits. How can we get enough quality sleep and have the energy for the entire day and all the relationships we manage?!
To nap or not to nap? Let's completely open the doors to a new concept that napping doesn't need to be falling asleep. The year was 2016, and my schedule was packed full of clients. I had 7 sessions in the morning, a break to workout and get other errands done before 7 more sessions in the evening. I would typically eat about 3 prepared meals a day plus a full breakfast and maybe a snack somewhere in there. I was consuming around a gallon of water a day and focusing primarily on strength training. Often I would find my self completely exhausted like we all have felt at one time or another. So much of my job required me to be "on point" and ready to have conversation for 4 straight hours. This is where I discovered the amazing benefits of the 10 minute nap. Here's how to do it:
Find a hardwood floor ( hear me out!) You'll just need to make sure your neck feels supported. Don't use a comfortable bed or couch. Lay on your back and don't move a muscle for the entire time. The goal is to reset your body! During the day we have a constant stream of thoughts and things to get done and this is an opportunity to completely turn all of that off.
Note: This is a practiced habit and much like apple cider vinegar, takes some getting use to. You'll probably want to move around at first, and you'll probably be thinking of all the things you should be getting done instead. I can promise you, that it takes time for people to get good at this. If this is difficult for you, then you absolutely need this! The ability to sit still and not think is a long lost skill.
Some people prefer to use float tanks, or other devices to help with this, which also can work great. I found that I could achieve a similar experience without getting into the water and taking a huge part of my day away, but do what works best for you!
Lastly, let's cover just a few habits to practice at night for the best sleep possible!
Keep your room colder if possible.
Develop a wind-down routine, maybe some tea and stretching/reading. These will naturally slow down your breathing and heart rate.
Utilize TV time effectively.
Use a journal if you need to get things off your mind so that you can focus on them the next day.
Invest in a great pillow/ sleep in the same position every night unless injured.
As with a lot of the behaviors that we look at, none of these seem groundbreaking but the results certainly will feel like it. These routine changes take discipline and practice but the results will follow and you will be sleeping better than ever. Fight the urge to make excuses until you've tried a new routine for at least 90 days. Okay, I gotta go nap, See you next blog!