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Day time sleeping

It has been all over the media in the last few days – having a midday nap can bring serious health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and preventing future heart attacks.

The benefits were highlighted in a study at the Askepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens who assessed a group of men and women with an average age of 61 and high blood pressure.

They found that those who had a short sleep mid day had blood pressure measurements on average around per cent lower than those who did not have a day time sleep.

This actually supports earlier research where results have also shown benefit from a mid day nap.

And this isn’t only for retired people. There is now a group of people lobbying for companies to offer rest rooms so the over 40s can also share the benefits of a mid day sleep.

This is all very well, but for many of us, unless we have indulged in an enormous midday meal, falling asleep midday is pretty impossible. We are active, brains are full of ideas for the afternoon, we have things to do…..even if we slump back in a chair all that happens is that we become restless at the waste of time when we have lots we want to get on with.

So how can we get to sleep in the middle of the day?

There are a few tips from various sources that can help:

  • If you are not at home, a small pillow and earphones can make a big difference in falling asleep midday.
  • Block out as much light as possible. Shutting curtains, closing blinds, or consider a sleep mask can all help.
  • Disruptive sounds can stop you from falling asleep; hear ear plugs can sometimes be useful; or it might be worth organizing white noise such as a fan or speaker that plays the sound of waves.
  • Before you fall asleep, try and spend a little time on a non-stimulating or even boring activity such as reading a report, or of course listening to relaxing music can help.
  • When you are ready for your midday nap, try tensing and relaxing your muscles. Begin with your toes and work up to your head, tightly tensing each of your muscle groups for around five seconds before releasing them. This can help to relax your body.
  • Focussing on your breathing can help. Just listen to your breathing as it slows down.
  • Stop thinking. Actively try and not focus on anything. One tip is to repeat the word “let” on every in breath and “go” every time you breathe out.

You only need to sleep for a very short interval to gain benefit – around 10 to 30 minutes can be enough to refresh you and your body. If you find you are falling into a deep long sleep, set your alarm so you don’t sleep the afternoon away and disturb your evening bedtime pattern.

Finally don’t become stressed if you can’t sleep during the day. Just a quiet time of calm and relaxation midday can also be beneficial.

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