Wendy Hoffman blogs about menopause and women's health—particularly focusing on how diet and nutrition can positively affect a woman's life around the age of menopause.See all posts »
The Power of the Nap
Because sleep disorders are a troublesome symptom of menopause for most women (myself included), I’ve written frequently about the need to make getting enough shut-eye a priority. But how much is really necessary in order to have quality waking hours?
David Randall, author of the new book, Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep wrote an interesting article recently, suggesting that the goal of an getting an eight-hour block of sleep may be out-dated and that dividing the time into two sleep cycles, as many other societies do, could work just as well, if not better.
He points to a number of recent studies suggesting that any deep sleep - whether in an sequential, eight-hour block or a 30 minute nap - primes our brains to function at a higher level.
“Strategic napping...could benefit us all,” he wrote in the New York Times. “No one argues that sleep is not essential. But freeing ourselves from needlessly rigid, and quite possibly outdated, ideas about what constitutes a good night’s sleep might help put many of us to rest, in a healthy and productive, if not eight-hour long, block.”
Dr. James Mass, the nationally renowned sleep expert, writes in his book, Sleep for Success, that a power nap is an “easy, healthful way to quickly boost alertness, concentration, productivity, creativity and mood.”
Notice how words like “strategic” and “power” are being used to describe the ordinary nap - perhaps to make Americans more comfortable with the concept. Rather than something an idle, lazy person would do, it is instead being described as a technique to boost energy, improve productivity and promote clear thinking, which leads to more creativity.
If those possibilities sound good to you, here are some tips that Dr. Mass offers for achieving a good nap:
- It should be about fifteen to thirty minutes in duration – not longer. This will leave you feeling refreshed.
- Sweep your head of “nap blockers.” Forget about the to-do list in your head and turn off the cell phone.
- Block the light and noise in your napping place using an eye mask or ear plugs if necessary.
- Get comfortable. If not at home, just sit back in your chair or use a yoga mat on the floor.
- Then close your eyes and drift off
For extra help in napping well, consider trying the Power Nap Kit, available from At Peace Media. It offers three voice-guided power-nap sessions (disc 1) and three music-only power nap sessions (disc 2). The kit includes a 44-page booklet about sleep, stress and power naps.
A Power Nap just might be the tool you need to help relax and rejuvenate you.