Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cool Facts About Naps

I don't know about you, but there is a lot of talk in my house lately about sleep.  Lack of it, length of it, interrupted, and my all-time favorite, naps.  I LOVE naps.  I never took naps before I had kids.  When you have babies, you are so sleep deprived, you learn that whenever the baby sleeps, so do you.  That minute.  I mean, you seriously drop everything and crawl into bed that second.  I have been in the middle of phone conversations, noticed the baby fell asleep and actually said, "I have to go now.  The baby just fell asleep.  This is my only time to sleep.  I have to go NOW! Goodbye!" And slammed the phone down.  So, believe me, I know about naps.  At least I thought I did.

This morning, courtesy of an early morning Urgent Care visit with my daughter (she is fine, all is well, thanks), I was unprepared for reading material and had to settle for waiting room material.  Happily, I came across a great article on naps.  So following is my blog post entitled Cool Facts About Naps because most of these I didn't even know.  Stephen King muses that afternoons are for writing letters and naps....I wonder how many of these he knows?

  1. Naps lasting 30-60 minutes trigger slow-wave sleep that helps brains recall information already stored there.
  2. Naps of 60-90 minutes trigger REM sleep - Rapid Eye Movement - good for improving and creating memory.  But don't sleep PAST 90 minutes.  You will go into another sleep cycle and get no additional benefits.
  3. For a perfect sleep, grab a blanket: your body temperature drops when you sleep.
  4. Try wearing an eye mask.  There is evidence that light DOES inhibit sleep.
  5. Watch the time.  Don't nap within 3 hours of your bedtime, otherwise you'll rob yourself of your normal nighttime sleep.
There are health benefits to the midday nap as well.  Studies show a 90 minute nap clears the brain's short term memory storage which can become cluttered after several hours of being awake, and makes room for new information.  According to new research from UC Berkeley, naps of 60-90 minutes increased positive emotions and Harvard found it also reduced the risk of death from heart disease in men.  Lunchtime naps were found to be a good idea not only for the sleep-deprived but anyone who wanted to function at optimal mental capacity.

All welcome news for a creative, world-building mind like an author, I say.  And I'd love to discuss the issue more with you but, *yawns*, I think it might be time for my nap.  I need to make a little room in my warehouse for some new ideas.  I've been awake for a while and it's getting crowded up there.  Time to free up some space.  Pass me that pillow on your way out, will ya?

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