Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Mastering the Art of an Afternoon Nap – Finding Time to Recharge

One of the best things we can do for our health, focus, energy, and fitness is to get enough rest. Unfortunately, most people do not prioritize sleep as part of their health and wellness regimen. I have found that I function well with approximately seven hours of sleep per night coupled with a 20-30-minute nap during the day. Here are eight tips on how to incorporate a nap in your daily routine: 
1. First let’s begin with prioritizing the idea of rest. If you feel like you cannot devote 15-30 minutes to a healthier you, I suggest you reexamine what and who you are living for. If you are having trouble figuring out where to find 15-30 minutes in the middle of your day, begin by evaluating how you spend your personal time. Do you use your entire lunch break to eat or do you also use that time to socialize? Do you watch TV, surf the web, scroll through social media, or take coffee breaks at work? The time is there, you simply need to identify and be purposeful with it! 

2. When possible, choose the same time daily to devote to your nap. I prefer to choose a time around 2pm, which is typically a bit more than half way through my day. 

3. Buy an eye mask and ear plugs and use them. 

4. Put your phone on do not disturb and set an alarm for 15-30minutes and put it face down. This ensures you can fully relax knowing you will be alerted when its time to wake up while reducing distractions. 

5. Find a dark, quiet, warm, comfortable space. If you work in an office, consider using any available office with a door, your car, a meeting room, or, if your office provides a quiet/nap room use it! Lock the door, draw the blinds, and sit or lay in the most comfortable position possible. 

6. RELAX! Relaxation takes FOCUS. Focus on slow diaphragmatic breathing, the movement of air in and out of the lungs, and the blackness that you see when you close your eyes. Concentrate on relaxing each muscle in your body starting from your head to your toes. This is a time for you to take inventory of your body. If you feel an area of your body fighting the opposing force of gravity, try to relax it. If you have ever taken a yoga class, this is what shavasana is. Simply relaxing, noticing, and breathing.
Your mind may drift when you first try this, be sure to focus on your goal of relaxing. Overtime it will become easier. 

7. When your alarm sounds, get up immediately. In the beginning, you will have the urge to continue sleeping. Keep a water bottle with you and when
your alarm sounds, drink up. This will help wake you up. Once you establish a routine, you will be able to wake up more naturally feeling refreshed. 

8. Repeat this routine daily. Over the course of 30-90 days your body will adapt. It will efficiently recharge itself for a productive afternoon after your 15-30-minute nap. 

Some days, you may not actually sleep. However, simply sitting in a dark room, with earplugs and an eye mask will help relax your senses. In a world where we are constantly stimulated, giving your senses a break will feel amazing! You can also use this time for meditation or prayer.

In today’s high paced world, it has become a badge of honor to be busy and tired. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but you are also doing everyone around you a disservice. Finding life balance is a highly personalized art. It takes commitment, prioritizing, and time management. When you find it, you will realize that inactivity and recovery are just as important to success as work and effort are.

Stephen Cornely LMT CPT FRCms
IG: @stephenjcornely
FB: Triad Wellness Philly