Sleepless in NOLA
In our society, sleep is considered a sign of weakness. How many times have you heard someone say, “I only need 4 hours of sleep a night” or “I can go to bed late and wake up early and make it through as long as I have lots of coffee’ or even, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? I have been known to say that last one myself, when I’ve wanted to celebrate an event late in the evening hours, rather than calling it a night at a reasonable time. But is it healthy to have that approach?
The research is plentiful that sleep is crucial, and since there are so many factors that affect our nighttime sleep, with wake-ups to check our messages and see who may have needed us while we were “wasting” time sleeping, delayed sleep onset because of work or play and plain old insomnia; mostly because we are inundated with too much information at our fingertips and can't turn our brains off.
So, for those that don't value overnight sleep or don't get enough of it, you may do well with an afternoon siesta. Many cultures, to this day (or at least the older generations), still incorporate an afternoon nap into their day.
Naps can restore your energy level to that which one feels upon awakening in the morning, they can give a boost of energy during the day as well as allow one to go later into the evening as it relates to productivity. So, how must one incorporate that into your day?
First of all, there are lots of methods out there to try: coffee naps (yes, that's a thing), nap pods and napercise classes or just resting your head in your office, with a nifty scarf that holds your head up so it doesn't go flying down in fast momentum towards your desk.
My two favorite and most accessible (and cheapest) options are the coffee nap and the nap scarf. The coffee nap, which sounds contradictory but can be explained by science and even if you don't believe in it, it is worth a try. How many times have you drank your coffee in the morning but still felt groggy for another 20 minutes? It's because that is about the amount of time it takes for the caffeine to “kick in”. But instead of walking around in a haze until your coffee kicks in, take that time to take a “coffee nap”. It's a nap that is taken right after you drink your coffee. The coffee, with the combination of the rejuvenation of the nap, can fuel you for the rest of your day. It can be done in the morning or afternoon. I have inadvertently done this and not realized why I felt so good afterward.
The second option is a neck scarf. It is a simple piece of fabric that you wrap around your neck and it supports your head during a nap so you are not jolted awake during the sleep period. It can be purchased inexpensively online.
If and when you nap during the day, set an alarm and don't sleep more than 20 minutes. That is the right amount of time to provide rejuvenating effects of the nap. Also, do not nap too late in the evening. Some people will try to take a nap at 8 PM so they can stay up late into the night, if it is done for a short period of time, it may be okay, but a lot of times, it can alter the night sleep cycle and cause you to wake with such a groggy sensation that you can't enjoy your evening activities.
Press the “reset” button on your day and take a nap so you feel like your “computer” has been restarted.
Sleepless in NOLA
Dr. Nilong Vyas is a board-certified pediatrician and owner and founder of Sleepless in NOLA, LLC Sleep Consulting Service.
Dr. Vyas has passionately worked with parents for over 10 years to teach their children how to sleep well. But sleep is not a solitary issue so she takes into consideration all aspects of the child's well-being and day to day schedule. She will thoroughly look at the child's diet, development, activities, and routine before making any adjustments to your child's sleep. She has a holistic approach that takes various factors into consideration before coming up with a specific plan for you and your family.
She has been referred to as “the sleep doctor” by many grateful clients. New parents often confront her with the question, “How do I get my baby to sleep?”
Getting your baby to sleep is one of the most controversial, contradictory, and confusing aspects of parenting and Dr. Vyas takes your personal parenting goals into consideration. Dr. Vyas is knowledgeable not only of the common sleep approaches such as the Ferber Method, Babywise, the Sleep Lady Shuffle, Pantley method, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child but more importantly a Pediatric Medical knowledge base. Combining her personal experiences along with her medical knowledge, Dr. Vyas tailors a sleep program to fit your specific family’s needs. She prides herself on successfully giving the entire family a good night’s sleep. - HAPPY SLEEP!