Somehow, the time of year during which businesses close up and kids go on vacation becomes one of the most hectic and stressful times, and one of the very last things we seem to make time for is actually getting some sleep.
Apparently, someone out there in Internet Land has caught on to the ironic post-holiday exhaustion and decided to invent a holiday for it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Festival of Sleep Day.
On January 3rd, celebrate that long forgotten comrade of yours by hitting snooze, taking a nap, and spending the day in your PJs. The dishes can wait, work can’t possibly need you that much — let there be sleep, I say!
The thing is, most people have a tough time napping during the day, and it’s not just because society manages to stay in a constant state of busy-ness.
The fact of the matter is, social constructs over the years have idolized personal martyrdom in the form of burnout and pulling all-nighters, and vilified basic practices of self-care. Whereas it makes perfectly reasonable sense that you’d be more productive if you got more sleep, our current social constructs have cast an unspoken taboo on those who dare to make time for an afternoon nap.
So why is it that it’s more admirable to sleep three hours a night than it is to schedule your day so perfectly that you can actually engage in supplemental sleep?
The answer is simple: social and industrial hard-wiring.
The era of never getting anything without blood sweat and tears still has its talons hooked in our logic and reason, and finally, at long last, we’re waking up, and recognizing the power of getting some sleep.
Social stigmas aside, naps are what most of our population need.
Make no mistake – if you’re not getting enough sleep at night, a nap won’t help you make up the difference. You have to focus on getting 6-8 hours every night if you’re going to function like a normal human being.
That said, that midday slump so many people feel is often the result of excessive mental fatigue — a brain that’s overworked and overstimulated, and just needs a quick breather. While coffee can provide a temporary boost in energy, the effects of a nap on your brain’s efficiency and productivity are much more lasting and profound.
In a series of studies done by NASA, scientists discovered that astronauts who napped for 25 minutes saw their judgment improve by 35%, and their vigilance by 16%, and performed better for longer compared to those who skipped the nap in favor of a dose of caffeine.
That being said, there is — believe it or not — a wrong way to nap.
Here are a few ways to ensure you get the most bang for your buck out of your afternoon zzz’s.
Anything longer could have you waking up feeling groggier than you were before.
Even just the act of closing your eyes and not doing anything can provide some much-needed rest and relief for your brain.
It might sound crazy, but drinking a cup of coffee before your nap means you wake up right as that caffeine is starting to kick in. That’s right. Coffee Naps are totally a thing.
This can be a tricky one, but read a book, eat your lunch — anything you can do to avoid looking at a screen will help you to fall asleep faster.
A guilty napper is a BAD napper.
The Festival of Sleep is January 3rd, 2018 — how will you be celebrating? Tell us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine
Destiny is a freelance writer with a background in sustainability and natural health. She lives in the mountains of central Montana with her husband and young son. When she’s not writing or chasing her toddler, you can find her wandering the quiet wilderness in search of wild herbs and antler sheds.