How Sleep Boosts Your Mood

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Enjoy Naps this Winter Season

insomniaThere’s nothing better than a nice, refreshing nap. Most mammals are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day. Think about your cat or dog. They know how to relax right? For us humans, days are divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness, which is a monophasic sleep pattern. However, this may be a product of living in an industrialized world and not the natural sleep pattern of humans. In many cultures, young children, and elderly take naps midday. Remember kindergarten? You got to take a nap and it was a group subconscious experience.

Our bodies are programmed for two periods of intense sleepiness a day: between 2 and 4 am and 1 and 3 pm. Unfortunately, despite our biological vestige, we are having to consolidate our sleep into one long period. We here are Complete Oriental Medical Care know a thing or two about sleep because our Edina acupuncture clinic has been treating insomnia and sleep issues for over two decades.

The siesta is practiced in many countries including Spain, Philippines, and mainland China.  Several short sleep periods are common among most mammals. There is solid scientific evidence that napping lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, excessive weight gain and diabetes as well as reducing stress.

A short 20-minute midday nap boosts mental alertness, mood, productivity, and sharpens motor skills. Naps up to 45 minutes can sometimes include REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which enhances creative thinking and sensory processing. If you need to spring into action upon waking, keep your nap below 45 minutes.

Naps can be categorized in three ways:

Planned napping:  Taking a nap before you actually get sleepy. This is also called preparatory napping. You may use this technique as a mechanism to ward off getting tired earlier or when you know that you will be up later than your normal bedtime.

Emergency napping:  Taking a nap when you are suddenly very tired and cannot stay awake to continue with what you were doing. This type of nap can be used to combat fatigue while using heavy and dangerous machinery or drowsy driving.

Habitual napping:  Napping at the same time each day.  A person might take a short nap after lunch every day or young children may fall asleep at about the same time each afternoon.

Tips for Getting the Perfect Nap

* First off, get over feeling guilty that you are being lazy for taking a nap. Acknowledge that napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up. Napping isn’t for the lazy or depressed. Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Thomas Edison were known to be afternoon nappers.

* Avoid consuming large quantities of foods that are heavy in fat and sugar or caffeine, which can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Instead, choose foods high in calcium and protein, which promote sleep.

* Find a clean, quiet place where passersby and phones won’t disturb you, preferably where you can lie down.  It takes about 50% longer to fall asleep sitting upright.

* Darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Try to darken your room or wear an eyeshade.

* Body temperature drops when you fall asleep. Raise the room temperature or use a blanket.

* Set your alarm for the desired duration to prevent oversleeping.

Problems Sleeping?

If you are experiencing some trouble sleeping give us a call. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has been treating insomnia and other sleep disturbances successfully for thousands of years. All without depending on drugs with side effects to achieve awesome results. Call 952-831-8080 or go to  our contact page now.

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