Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.
I once referred to sleeping in the daytime, a nap, as a precious waste of time. I have since changed my mind as with many of my own discoveries from forty or fifty years ago when life was a merry-go-round and I didn’t want to get off.
Mentioning this proclamation in my first memoir, NO SEX IN ST. TROPEZ, written about 1974 Europe, I experienced the short (30 minutes) afternoon rest or snooze while living and working in a French home. After lunch, the major meal of most days, we all retired to the bedrooms or the living room couch or porch lounge for quiet time…the parents, children, aunt, the cat and me.
I rarely slept. Instead I wrote letters or entries in my journal. After naptime, we had a strong cup of French coffee then everyone went on with the day going back to work or shopping or the beach. Shops closed during naptime.
During the last few years between 2:30 and 4:00 PM my memory (short term mostly) doesn’t work as well as it did that morning. I figured that it was the morning exercise that exhausted me, but memory and productivity was even worse on days I didn’t exercise. The work outs became a stimulant for an extra hour or two in the afternoon especially after a short nap.
Finally I saw what was happening when I noticed that along with others we were fighting the aging process. My bouts with atrial fib forced me to rest. Read more about it…IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups and Downs of Life with Atrial Fib–Here
My list for successful naps:
- Sit in a comfy chair or recliner. Don’t lie down in bed. This tells your body you are taking a nap, not going in for the night. Don’t turn on the TV.
- Set the clock for 30 to 40 minutes. I use my Smart Phone timer. When it goes off, it’s gentle. It won’t scare you out of the chair.
- Sleep for 15 or 20 minutes only. It may take you 5 or 10 minutes to fall asleep, but you must clear your mind and not think anything negative or with pressure.
- Sometimes I fall into a deep sleep, sometimes a light sleep calling it surface sleeping.
- Upon waking up, try not to jump up with a jolt. I like to get up slowly. By sitting quietly for a few minutes, it gets the mind and body in sync.
- It’s not until later that the value of that nap is realized. Without the nap, I’m ready for bed after dinner. With the nap I feel better with dinner and for several hours after dinner before retiring for the night.
- If we have plans to go out for dinner, an event or guests coming over, I can handle it if I’d had a nap. If not, I’m grumpy and little dumb things bother me, using the energy I need somewhere else
- Best of all, sleep is better that night waking up refreshed the next day.
- Good sleep is a key to good health, especially good heart health.
Next week’s blog tackles ‘the gut’:
“All disease begins in the gut”– Hippocrates