If you find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day, your body could be trying to tell you something. Sleep is crucial for a healthy life. According to the National Sleep Foundation, women between the ages 30 – 60 average less than seven hours of sleep per night. A wide variety of issues keep women from sleeping long enough or sleeping well. Menstruation, pregnancy, concerns for children, job stress, relationship anxieties, and other health issues can all contribute to general sleep problems for women. Even when women do get enoughnighttime rest, many of them feel sleepy throughout the day, particularly in the afternoon. Why does this happen and is it unhealthy?
Statistically SpeakingWhen it comes to napping, the National Sleep Foundation notes that 43% of Americans sleep at some time during the day. Not surprisingly, some of these people admit to sleeping at work. While in other cultures, napping is considered a natural part of the day, in the United States, it is still often viewed negatively. In countries where napping occurs at least three times a week, there is a 37% decrease in heart disease, as stated by a study discussed in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
What Causes Us to Feel Sleepy During the Day?A variety of culprits may contribute to a desire to take a mid-afternoon nap including:
* Not Enough/Too Much Sleep
Waking up feeling tired or edgy is a symptom of too little sleep. A major loss of sleep affects a person as seriously as alcohol by impairing mental judgment, shortening
reaction time, increasing temper, and creating difficulties with physical performance.
Feeling tired at waking can also be a result of too much sleep. People who sleep more than eight hours per night on average do not live as long as those who sleep a sound eight hours, according the National Sleep Foundation.
* Poor SleepTossing and turning, worrying, and physical problems can all contribute to a restless night of sleep.
* OverstimulationDue To Caffeine and Sugar
While caffeine and sugar provide immediate energy boosts, they result in fatigue when the body is “coming down” off of the chemicals.
* BoredomAccording to a poll by the BBC, one in three workers is bored with his current employment.
* Lack of Physical Activity
Sitting at a desk or in front of a computer for hours at a time can cause intense fatigue.
* Irregular Eating Habits
Eating healthy foods regularly helps keep energy levels up.
If a body is used to napping, it will expect it when the time comes each day.
Stress will keep a person from sleeping well at night and at the same times, and cause people to want to sleep during the day as a momentary bodily release from the stress.
* Not Drinking Enough Water
Refreshment throughout the day helps the body feel less tired.
How Do We Overcome Sleepiness During the Day?There are lifestyle changes that can definitely affect how you feel during the day, whether sleepy or energized.While it is not necessarily a negative to take a daytime nap, there are just days when it’s not possible. So, on those days consider some of the following strategies for staying awake and alert.
* Get enough sleep at night.
For adults, an average of seven to eight hours of sleep per night is ideal.
* Eat a combination of healthy carbohydrates and high-protein foods for lunch.
Meals filled primarily with carbohydrates have the same effect on the body later as sugar and caffeine.
* Do the most tedious part of your job in the morning hours, if possible.
Putting off boring work until the afternoon will definitely result in desiring a nap. Afternoon meetings are best when there is high energy as well as creativity involved.
* Work out or at least take a midday walk.
Exercise gets the blood flowing and the brain working. It is also an overall health positive for every person. Working out during the day allows most people to sleep better at night, too.
* Eat regularly all day.
It is challenging for a body to catch up during the afternoon if only one meal has been eaten.
* Deal with stress through exercise and/or meditation.
Often when a person feels tired due to stress, meditation not only helps relieve the stress but also refreshes the body.
* Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Water refreshes and revives tired bodies.
So…Is it Bad to Take a Nap during the Day?As previously stated, there appears to be a real positive to napping…a reduction in heart disease. Unfortunately, American business does not necessarily condone napping, let alone promote it. However, if there is an opportunity for a nap and a person feels tired, there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to rest.
When there’s a limited amount of time for a nap, power napping is ideal. Typically, it can be accomplished even while sitting in a chair. The timing of a power nap is around 15-20 minutes, although it varies by person. Some people can shut their eyes for 10 minutes and wake up perfectly refreshed. Other people have to set an alarm so they won’t sleep longer than 20 minutes. The key to power napping is being able to relax immediately and deeply. For most people, this takes some practice. Always avoid caffeine or other stimulants the hour before napping. Background music can help speed up the relaxation process. A power nap around 2 p.m. in the afternoon can energize a person to get a great deal accomplished later in the day.
Feeling Sleepy All the TimeWhen a person is sleepy all the time, there may be a more serious issue involved and a doctor should be consulted. The quality of sleep at night directly affects how someone feels all day.Insomnia is common in the United States. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 50% of U.S. adults experience insomnia. The insomnia may be related to stress, physical issues such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing during sleep), sleepwalking, restless legs syndrome, or night terrors. Depression is another possible concern.
Strategies for Overall Better SleepWhen having problems sleeping, a person should consider trying the following:1. Avoid caffeine and sugar the last few hours prior to going to bed.2. Establish a regular sleep time and routine. Going to bed around the same time every night allows the body to develop a routine and expect sleep.3. Exercise regularly but avoid exercise within two hours of going to bed.4. Sleep in a peaceful, comfortable environment with little or no lighting and low noise levels. Falling asleep while watching television or listening to loud music is not healthy for the sleep process overall.
By following the above suggestions, a healthy sleep pattern will result in a healthier, happier life. Naps can certainly be part of that pattern and appear to be beneficial in the short and long term. As with all health-related issues, a combination of a balanced diet, the right amount of sleep and exercise is ideal for everyone. Sweet dreams!
Are You Smart About Sleep?Do you wake up feeling rested on most days of the week, or are you just not a morning person? Getting a good night’s sleep affects every aspect of your day, including your mood and your ability to be productive. And if that doesn’t get your attention, listen up: Your sleep habits can even affect the number on the scale.
Culled from Everyday Health