Cure Your Insomnia By Taking A Nap

So many experts proclaiming they have a cure for  insomnia  issue this solemn advice: “NEVER take a nap during the day.”

They warn that daytime napping will ruin any chance of someone with  insomnia  from having a good night’s sleep. Nod off after lunch, they say, and you’ll be staring at the ceiling come 2 a.m.

Folks, it’s utter nonsense.

Insomniacs can and should benefit from an afternoon nap. Indeed, I’m one of the world’s greatest (and most enthusiastic) nappers. I’ll often find an empty meeting room at work during the lunchtime break and snooze for 10, 20 sometimes 30 minutes. I awake rested, refreshed and ready for the afternoon’s tasks.

You can nap, too, but not just because I say so. The thing is, napping is in our genes, as Prof. Jim Horne of Britain’s Loughborough Sleep Research Centre explains:

“Humans are designed for two sleeps a day – the main one at night and a nap in the afternoon – which explains why people in the warmer parts of the world have an afternoon siesta, and why the rest of us are likely to be sleepy at this time.”

Reading that, are you experiencing a “light bulb moment”? Have you suddenly thought about all those people at work and home who yawn after lunch and announce they feel sleepy? Is it any wonder energy levels are low in the early afternoon and people take so long to return to the pace of the morning? Look no further than babies and young children who need their afternoon nap.

In fact, defying the body’s urge to sleep at this time could be bad for your health: One intensive Greek study of almost 24,000 men and women over six years found that those who took a 30-minute siesta at least three times a week had a 37 per cent lower risk of a heart-related death than non-nappers!

Other studies suggest people who live in countries that observe the siesta have lower rates of heart disease.

So what do we in the west do? We invent the “working lunch” that a) interferes with a relaxed digestion and b) denies our brains some down time from the stress of the day.

Of course, napping is a serious issue for people with  insomnia . Many spend every night in a series of naps instead of a deep, refreshing sleep. These people feel so tired that they could nap at the drop of a hat anytime during the day. I sympathize because I’ve been in that exhausted state.

But for napping to work, it has to be at the right time and in the right place. Early afternoon is best, preferably in a quiet room with dimmed lighting. If that’s not possible at work, you could always go to your car – I’ve reclined the driver’s seat, put on shades and had some marvelous naps in the office car park!

And speaking of the length of the nap, shorter is definitely better. In fact, scientists at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany recently reported that volunteer student nappers who slept for just six minutes performed better in subsequent memory tests than students who’d been kept awake.

OK, six minutes is a bit too short for me – I prefer the generally recommended 20-30 minutes. And I usually wake up spontaneously, as if my brain is saying, “Right, I’m ready to go again.”

If you have  insomnia , train yourself to have a daily afternoon nap if at all possible. You not only need the rest, but should incorporate such naps into your overall quest to cure your  insomnia .