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Benefits of Taking a Nap

By Paul Rothbart

Sleep is one thing that many people can't seem to get enough. Rising early for work and other obligations while unable to get to bed as early as we like can cause fatigue in the latter parts of a day. Then there are those nights when the mind just doesn't want to shut down. We toss and turn while a million things run through the brain. If only there was a way to get some extra sleep. There is. It's known as the nap. Napping can be quite beneficial if used properly. Here are some facts about that midday snooze.

Set an Alarm

Naps are most effective when they last between 10 and 20 minutes. Any shorter and they don't refresh you at all. Longer naps can make you groggy for an hour or so after awakening. An alarm is important because without it, you may fall into a lengthy sleep. It may feel good at the time, but it can prevent full alertness as well as mess up your sleep that night. There are also the feelings of guilt over tasks that went undone while you were sleeping. 

Don't Nap Too Late in the Day

Taking a nap in the late afternoon will definitely make it difficult to sleep that night. Then you're tired the next day and need another nap. This goes on and can eventually switch your sleep time to during the day, causing all kinds of problems. Avoid this by getting your nap in earlier. The ideal time would be halfway between when you wake up and when you go to sleep. You may not be able to hit it exactly, but get as close as you can and error on the earlier side. 

Nap in a Sleep-Friendly Environment

You may not have access to your bed for a nap, but try to create a quiet, comfortable environment. A couch or futon can work quite nicely. It should be a room that is dark and cool.  Free your mind of worries. Your chores will be there when you wake up. There are white noise apps you can get for your phone that can provide a number of soothing sounds, both natural and manmade. I find the sound of rain very helpful for sleep.

Try Relaxation Exercises

Many people have trouble falling asleep during the day. Practicing relaxation techniques can be very helpful. They calm both mind and body and feel good even if you don't sleep. As you get better at them, sleep will come more quickly and then you can get the full benefit of the nap.

Sleep is a wonderful thing that we sometimes can't get enough of. A short nap in the middle of the day can be quite helpful in recharging the batteries and keep us fresh and alert. Keep these tips in mind and you can enjoy quality naps.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wake Forest, N.C.

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