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You're Getting Sleepy

Hello Acu-Fam,

The holiday season is quickly approaching. We all feel like there is so much that needs to be done and we are extra stressed this time of year. I'm giving you permission to nap -- really! There is even science to back me up.

Most mammals sleep for short periods throughout the day. For humans, days are divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness.. 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. Our bodies are programmed for two periods of intense sleepiness a day: between 2 and 4 am and 1 and 3 pm. Unfortunately, we are having to consolidate our sleep into one long period.

There is solid scientific evidence 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.

Tips for Getting the Perfect Nap

* First off, get over the stigma that you are being lazy for taking a nap. Recognize that napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up. Napping isn’t for the lazy or depressed. Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison are/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.

Notes on the Negative Effects of Napping

Napping isn't always the best option for everyone in spite of its benefits. Naps that last more than 20 minutes can leave some people with feelings of disorientation, and grogginess that last for half an hour or more.

Another downside of daytime napping is that it may have a negative effect on other sleeping periods. A nap longer than 45 minutes or taken too late in the day may affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep. If you usually have trouble sleeping at night, a nap may only aggravate this problem.

So there you have it, a reason to nap and recharge this holiday season. Of course Acupuncture helps with stress relief as well so don't forget to schedule your appointment with us. We also offer gift cards for you, your friends and family. Give the gift of relaxation this holiday season. Call the office to purchase your gift cards today.

Happy Holidays.



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