Aging Well Partners
- Aug 10
- 2 min
Snooze Time for Great Brain and Mental Health
Doze, catnap, drowse, snooze, catch forty-winks, drop off, nod off, kip, siesta, shut-eye, slumber… so many names for such a popular pastime. The weekends were made for the popular nap, but the research for living and aging well, tells a different story that supports a daily nap. In fact, by limiting your naps to just the weekends, you could be short-changing your long-term health.
We all know them…our friends the super-nappers. Every chance they get, they curl up on a comfy sofa or chair and just like that they drop off to a peaceful sleep. I’m almost envious of the ease these sleepy friendlies have mastered. I’ve never been a napper. I’ve always had too much energy to hardly sit still in my day, much less take the time to settle down to squeeze in a little siesta; but the science says naps are really good for us, especially for our brain and mental health.
A regular kip increases energy, improves reaction time, and reduces daytime sleepiness. A consistent commitment to short rests each day lowers stress and helps to regulate mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and induces relaxation. The science also supports a little shuteye enhances creativity, increases productivity, boosts problem-solving skills, and improves many cognitive abilities. Such excellent benefits, especially when the after-lunch slump hits you in the middle of your workday.
The golden napping hour is between 1-4pm, and ideally for 20-40 minutes. This is not convenient, and we can hardly just kick up our feet, close our office blinds, or head for that comfy coach (if you work at home) in the middle of the day…can we? However, maybe we should and need to for the benefit of our health. I’ve begun forcing myself to leave my desk and stretch out on my couch for 10-20 minutes for the first time in my life. To say that it’s a challenge, is an understatement. Most of the time, I feel I have too much on my to-do list to stop and “waste time” closing my eyes and getting in a powernap. I’ve discovered, the renewed energy I get from this short sojourn helps me finish my day strong, and well worth the 10-20 minutes I’m “wasting.” The health benefits alone are worth it, so that has been my commitment to these short breaks as well.
Scientists found that people who napped for 30 to 90 minutes had better word recall, than people who did not nap or who napped for longer than 90 minutes. Individuals who napped for that golden 30 to 90 minutes were also better at figure drawing, another sign of good cognition. Often, we tell ourselves we don’t have time to do the things that support us to be more productive, and healthy human beings. The studies further confirm that people who sleep too much or too little may have poor health and even a shorter life span. Therefore, getting the right quantity and quality of rest each day is drastically more important to good health that we’ve ever known. Like any new habit, you just need to make the commitment. Luckily there is no learning curve to a great slumber. Here’s to living and aging well.
Jacqui Clark is a Certified Senior Advisor™ (CSA™), consultant with Living Coastal Senior Resources, and co-founder of Aging Well Partners. She is an industry leading living-and-aging well expert, and a respected communications specialist. She’s lived in San Diego for 35 years, much of that in Carlsbad where she and her husband live with their two daughters. Find Jacqui at www.agingwellpartners.com