Monday, October 5, 2015

Not Just for a Sunday

Photo by Aaron McLoughlin

“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” Winston Churchill

Seriously, if where lucky, we will make time for a nap on Sunday, however more so than ever before we fill our weekends with 'stuff to do'.

The Nap is a lost art adopted by most of the notable minds of the past. 

Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying that he could sleep “as sound as a bug in a barrel of morphine”, which was a nap sometimes as long as three hours.

A New York company released a 'Pod' a number of years back that revolutionised napping at work, The MetroNap is an elegant and sophisticated way of getting a good 'bit-of-kip' at work.

Why would we do this you may ask? 
A nap helps to lower blood pressure which makes sense really. High blood pressure can be the result of stress and fatigue and so taking a nap will help to reduce stress.

A nap helps to integrate new information and to balance activity between the two hemispheres of the brain. Mark Waldman has been  working in the neuroscience of napping, rest and meditation for wellness and creative success.

My own experience with training and receiving feedback about napping and mindfulness at work demonstrates that by taking a 10 - 20 minute nap a day actually increases the amount you can get done, while reducing the degree of stress you take home at night.
And how does a nap positively influence sleep? Well when we nap or meditate during the day, we effectively reduce the amount of stress we are taking into bed with us. Stress can often be the fuel to an over-active mind when a restful sleep is what we really want.
Something as simple as a nap can actually have very positive and powerful influence in not only your day... your night too.

Aaron McLoughlin

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sleep Makes You Look Younger

Here is an article from the daily mail in UK  and it talks about how sleep makes you look younger.

Apparently the old adage that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth three after is correct and it because the SWS or Slow-Wave Sleep occurs in the first few hours of sleep. Some research suggest that this will happen no matter what time you get to bed, however most people get to bed before midnight which backs up the adage. 

The interesting thing about before midnight as part of a healthy sleep protocol is that it fits with an ancient and not so ancient strategy used today in Ayurveda. There are three cycles to the day and the 10pm-2am cycle (repeated every 12 hours) is the Pitta time and is when the metabolism begins to heat up in order to fulfil the deep sleep cleansing program. The body literally 'burns' away the toxins and debri from the day and also rebuilds. This is also the time when deep consolidation of memory is done.

So, getting to be around 10 pm will put you good stead for having a very deep sleep for longer and at the same time helping you body to do its daily maintenance more satisfactorily.

Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing and of course if our general health and wellbeing are taken care of we feel better and may indeed even look a little younger.