Monday, March 11, 2013

Rock-a-Bye Baby: Celebrating National Napping Day

Happy National Napping Day! What a great way to put a cap on last week’s National Sleep Awareness Week 2013! Oh, you didn’t know about these fabulous “celebrations?” Neither did I until I saw peeps tweet it on our social medias. And now that I know about them, I want to turn out the lights and catch a few Z’s underneath my desk at work (I have a feeling this might be frowned upon; what a shame).

So why do we need National Napping Day & National Sleep Awareness Week? Most of us have grown up being told that hard work brings about success. Some have heard the Biblical proverb, “If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat (NLT Prov. 20:13). Others are wrapped up in being in the know about everything, that when it comes to sleep, they say,

You can fill in the blank.

But here are two findings when it comes to the typical practice of sleep in our modern society:
  • 10% of adolescents sleep only five hours and 23% sleep only six hours on an average school night. The recommended amount of sleep for teens is 8.5 to 9.25 hours per night (National Sleep Foundation)
  • The average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. The recommendation for adults is 7 to 9 hours (NSF)
So what’s the big deal? Many of us can attest to why this is a big deal if we take a moment to reflect on how we are feeling at this moment. Some of us are saying, “Now’s a great time to go get another (insert a caffeinated beverage).” Some of us are blaming Mondays for the feeling we have. And a few of us forgot exactly what we were supposed to be doing right now instead of reading another blogger rambling on about sleep. These feelings can often be traced back to two things: what we ate & how we slept recently.

So what should we do? Sleep more. That advice is not going to help you make a change, but what else is there to say. Turn out the lights for 10-15 minutes and take a snooze. Turn off this computer, smartphone, or tablet, and shut your eyes for a few minutes. Turn off the TV at 9:30 (in the middle of your favorite show) and put your pajamas on. Put that caffeinated beverage down & drink water for the rest of the day so your body is ready for sleep at night. Go exercise a little.

Why? There are multiple benefits to getting adequate sleep. Personally, adequate sleep and a short shut-eye lowers my blood pressure. I can quickly tell if I am short on sleep, and it all begins with my blood pressure. Other benefits are well-documented—alertness, improved memory, productivity, creativity, lifted spirits, and less stress. All those things sound AWESOME! 

So what should we do now? Recognize and celebrate a belated National Sleep Awareness Week and National Napping Day! Go get some shut-eye…

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