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Take a Nap as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

By Tom Herrin

When people look for ways to develop healthier lifestyles, the first things that come to mind are often diet and exercise.  Those are pretty standard.  Most understand the importance of the role that these play in overall health.  What many don't consider often enough is the role that is played by sleep.  Since so many people work odd times and situations, they may find themselves going without an adequate amount of sleep.  Even when this is the case, people may be able to compensate for this loss of sleep by taking a good nap.  It doesn't always have to be long, but it may be able to do wonders.

It May Help Manage Stress

Many times, people are stressed.  Whether it is from school, work, or family issues, stress can wear people down physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Dealing with it can be difficult.  For some, a nap may do the trick.  Allegheny College researchers found that people who take a nap can lower their blood pressure.  In the study, half of the participants took a nap after a difficult exam while the other half stayed awake.  Those who took a nap had lower blood pressure than those who didn't.  It is also thought that the heart may have greater ability to recover from stress when people are rested.

It May Help Physical Performance

When people have the sleep they need, they generally perform better.  It is a generally accepted notion.  For some hard evidence, a Stanford University study found that when athletes got more sleep in a three-week period, they had better physical results.  They had faster sprint times, better endurance, and a lower heart rate.  They believed that many athletes lacked a proper amount of sleep.  A good nap may be what helps to improve their fitness.

It May Help to Avoid Alzheimer's

Having quality sleep may be a key to helping us to keep from developing serious problems with dementia.  A Johns Hopkins University study found that people who lacked sleep had greater amounts of B-amyloid in their brains.  This is a plaque associated with Alzheimer's.  Apparently when we sleep, our brains clean themselves much like any other kind of maintenance.  If we take naps at appropriate times, we may be able to keep our brains clean from those toxins that can cause some of these problems.  A nap may do far more than many of us give proper credit.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Oceanside, Calif.

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