Could something as simple as a nap help you reduce your seasonal allergy issues? Maybe it could!
This idea came to my mind recently when a listener of The Feeling Good Podcast emailed me a question about how to optimize their afternoon nap. While researching that question I learned some interesting things about naps that I’ll touch on a little later in this blog, but first I want to explore the…
Sleep and Allergy Connection
One of the most important contributing factors when it comes to fighting allergies is the strength of your immune system. If you have a strong immune system then you are less likely to be sneezing, coughing, sniffling, and crying. One of the best ways to keep your immune system strong is by getting adequate rest. If you’re anything like me, then sometimes you might occasionally have some very late nights followed by very early mornings. Several years ago it was a regular practice for me to go to bed after midnight and wake up before 7 AM, getting anywhere from four to six hours of rest. As you probably know, that’s at least a couple hours short of the recommended eight hours. Recently I have been much more diligent in going to bed earlier to allow my body to rest and replenish, but if you are living like I previously did, then an occasional 20-30 minute afternoon nap would do nothing but help you! Now lets talk more about…
Are you one of those people that HAVE to take a nap in the middle of the day to get through each day? Or maybe you take a nap because you believe it is good for you. Perhaps you hate naps and somehow they always leave you feeling even more tired than before. Whatever the case I want to help you understand naps a little better, so here is the question that I received from a podcast listener named JC, that I mentioned above…
“Do you have any insight into how coffee in the morning impacts naps? I use the “Nap Wheel” to try to get to the closest ideal time when I can, but I also drink two cups of coffee in the morning. For example I wake up at 4:00 AM and have two cups of coffee around 8:30 AM. I’m not sure how this impacts my napping cycle, can you help?”
Now I have to admit, I am not a napper. On the other hand my wife loves to take naps, and when she suggests that I take one, my response is usually, “No, I don’t have time for a nap!” I have always had an aversion to naps, but JC’s question prompted me to look a little closer into the possible health benefits and to learn more about the “Nap Wheel” he uses to schedule them. I found out that the “Nap Wheel” was invented by Dr. Sara Mednick, who also wrote the book Take a Nap, Change Your Life. On her website she states:
“Imagine a product that increases alertness, boosts creativity, reduces stress, improves perception, stamina, motor skills, and accuracy, enhances your sex life, helps you make better decisions, keeps you looking younger, aides in weight loss, reduces the risk of heart attack, elevates your mood, and strengthens your memory. Now imagine that this product is also non-toxic, has no side effects, and best of all it is absolutely free. This miracle drug is nothing more than the right nap at the right time.”
Now being a natural pharmacist, this bold statement by Dr. Mednick had me hooked! I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want to experience these health benefits that she describes. I have since ordered her book and am rethinking my long time aversion to nap time. Reading this about naps brought back a memory of something I had read in a book several years ago. It reminded me that the science and health recommendations of taking a nap aren’t anything new. This book that I had read was published almost 70 years ago, and the doctor who wrote the book stated that a rest period immediately after meals will add years to your life as well as comfort to those years. This doctor did not use the term nap, but rather rest period. He went on to say with modern living as it is, that rest is very hard to arrange for those in business, but where there is a will there is a way. Now that is a philosophy I’ve tried to live by all my life! He said that we can accomplish far more in the day by resting immediately after meals. Now that seems a little odd to me, but he says that it can be done, it has been done, and it is being done even under the most difficult of circumstances and always with a great reward. Now this doctor recommended that when you rest to lie down on your right side, because if your stomach is slow to empty, lying in this position will help. He also said digestive juice perform better during rest than rush and hurry, and this is why we always feel better when we rest after we eat. He finished his thoughts on rest with this thought provoking statement: Our domestic animals follow this nature’s law of rest. Just watch your dog or cat.
I thought to myself that I should have paid closer attention to this doctor’s ideas on rest and perhaps even taken my wife’s advice when she suggest that I take a nap. It could have potentially saved me from a lot of digestive distress and discomfort.
If you decide to try a “rest period” after you eat then I would love to hear your experience. Also if you have a health question that you want answered then email [email protected]. Be sure to click our logo to subscribe so you can get the latest episode every Thursday!