Health & Wellness

It’s Okay. Go Ahead and Take a Nap. Adequate Sleep is Crucial for Ultimate Performance!

total wellness, sleep, physical health, purpose

Do you remember when you were a child and you dreaded having to take a nap in class? You probably thought to yourself that there were more fun and exciting things to do with your time like play outside with your classmates, listen to a story being told by your teacher or even eat a deliciously sweet and tangy piece of candy to help you stay happy for the rest of the day…the last thing you wanted to think about was going to sleep.

Now that you’re an adult and things are different the thought of taking a nap during your busy day might indeed cross your mind often, but do you really ever get around to taking one?

As I’ve discussed before in my previous posts, time has become a commodity and we are rarely able to squeeze taking a nap into our busy day. Although we have gotten older, some of us have not changed the way we feel about taking one.

We would rather cram everything we have to get done into one single day and stay up super late to get as most as we can accomplish within the 24 hours that we have available to do so. While this might not seem like a bad idea, it actually has quite a few disadvantages.

The truth of the matter is that your body needs an adequate amount of sleep in order to function properly. There has been much debate about the amount of sleep a person should get…some say at least 8 hours, others say at least 7 hours, while some even say that the amount of sleep depends on the person.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 18-64 get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to promote optimal health. The CDC recommends that adults get 7 or more hours of sleep as well.

National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Duration Recommendations :

Age Recommended May be appropriate Not recommended
Newborns

0-3 months

 

14 to 17 hours 11 to 13 hours

18 to 19 hours

Less than 11 hours

More than 19 hours

Infants

4-11 months

 

12 to 15 hours 10 to 11 hours

16 to 18 hours

Less than 10 hours

More than 18 hours

Toddlers

1-2 years

 

11 to 14 hours 9 to 10 hours

15 to 16 hours

Less than 9 hours

More than 16 hours

Preschoolers

3-5 years

 

10 to 13 hours 8 to 9 hours

14 hours

Less than 8 hours

More than 14 hours

School-aged Children

6-13 years

9 to 11 hours 7 to 8 hours

12 hours

Less than 7 hours

More than 12 hours

Teenagers

14-17 years

8 to 10 hours 7 hours

11 hours

Less than 7 hours

More than 11 hours

Young Adults

18-25 years

7 to 9 hours 6 hours

10 to 11 hours

Less than 6 hours

More than 11 hours

Adults

26-64 years

7 to 9 hours 6 hours

10 hours

Less than 6 hours

More than 10 hours

Older Adults

≥ 65 years

7 to 8 hours 5 to 6 hours

9 hours

Less than 5 hours

More than 9 hours

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Age Group Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day1,2
Infant 4-12 months 12-16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Toddler 1-2 years 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Pre-school 3-5 years 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
School Age 6-12 years 9-12 hours per 24 hours
Teen 13-18 years 8-10 hours per 24 hours
Adult 18-60 years 7 or more hours per night

One thing that is certain is that we all know that we definitely need sleep to help us get through our day. Data has shown that across the U.S. have been losing sleep and there are many factors that help explain why so many people have become sleep deprived. Reasons for this include everything from your biological makeup to how you choose to spend your time.

In an article produced by Anna Almendrala with HuffPost (formerly known as The Huffington Post) in 2016, The CDC reported that more than a third of U.S. adults didn’t get enough sleep.

SleepDuration

This is important for several reasons; however, I’m just going to list the three reasons that I feel that are the most relevant to you in regards to your health, this blog post, and others that you may come in contact with that may or may not be close to you.

3 Important Reasons to Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep

  1. to keep your brain functioning properly
  2. to have the energy you need to perform in order to live your purpose (when you sleep your body conserves energy)
  3. to help prevent accidents from happening (i.e. automobile accidents and job-related accidents)

Driving sleepy while behind the wheel of an automobile is one of the most common types of accidents related to sleep deprivation that can be prevented.

Did You Know?

Did you know that “sleep and sleep-related factors appear to be involved in widely disparate types of disasters”? Here’s another article from HuffPost that explains how sleep deprivation can be related to disastrous accidents.

Once you start improving your sleep, your productivity and quality of life will also begin to improve. Now, I must say that living purposefully and achieving total wellness does require a lot from you.

The process came even seem tedious and daunting at times but you must remember that true success starts with true happiness and true happiness starts from within!

Can you think of someone you may know that is very successful but dreadfully unhappy? I know I sure can. Can you think of someone you may who was very successful but that person’s success was short-lived because he or she became severally health deprived?

The point that I’m trying to make here is that living purposefully and achieving total wellness is an ever-changing process. It is something that you must work on every day!

It is extremely important because it affects everything that you do in life as well as others around you. The bottom line is that you cannot live purposefully and achieve total wellness and enjoy being successful if you are sleep deprived!

I can go on and on about this because I am very passionate about helping you achieve total wellness in your life, but let me redirect your attention back to the importance of managing your time wisely in order to make sure you get enough sleep.

Instead of providing you with all of the negative things that can happen if you don’t get enough sleep, take a look at some of the benefits that come with making sure you do get enough sleep…when you get enough sleep you:

  • reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease
  • help keep your immune system functioning properly
  • help your body boost and regulate its metabolism
  • help yourself alleviate stress
  • have a better chance of staying in a good mood
  • can easily recall things from memory better
  • are more creative because getting enough sleep nurtures and facilitates your creativity

Managing how you spend your time each day is crucial. Because we live in an age filled with new media, we must make sure that we monitor the time we spend with the gadgets we love. Our smartphones, tablets, watches, etc. have cost us a lot of sleep!

So the next time you think about trying to pull an “all-nighter” or sleep just 4 hours instead of 7 you might want to rethink your decision. If you do however find that you have no choice but to lose out on a few hours of sleep make sure to squeeze in a short nap to help restore you both physically and mentally. It’s totally worth it!

sleep infographic julia jv harper

Additional Resources

U. S. Department of Health and Human Resources – Get Enough Sleep

Why Power Napping Can Improve Productivity–and 4 Ways to Do It Right – By Kenny Kline

Napping Benefits & Tips – National Sleep Foundation

Researchers Just Found the Best Reason You Should Take More Naps – Readers Digest – By Lauren Rearick

 

 

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