I Need A Nap

Today is National Napping Day which seems fitting since most of us lost an hour of sleep this weekend due to the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST). As I was browsing through my news feeds this morning, I saw the story that someone, somewhere has designated today as an unofficial recognized day to take a nap.

William Anthony, Ph.D., a Boston University Professor and his wife, Camille Anthony, created National Napping Day in 1999 as an effort to spotlight the health benefits to catching up on quality sleep.

I like naps. I wasn’t too fond of them when I was a toddler but as I grew older I have developed a more positive attitude about taking an occasional nap.

Here are some interesting facts about naps:

  1. There are three types of nappers: habitual, planner and emergency. Habitual nappers follow the same pattern every day. Planners are those who plan to nap before they feel tired. Emergency people who do it immediately when they are tired.
  2. Naps are good for stress relief. It gives your brain a short timeout from activity.
  3. You don’t have to actually sleep to have a good nap. Just lying still with your eyes closed for 20 minutes provides you with some needed rest.
  4. There is an ideal nap time. The best nap time is in the middle of your wake cycle.

Did you know that there is even a National Siesta Championship in Madrid, Spain? Contestants compete to fall asleep as fast as possible in order to win a cash prize. Contestants are judged based on their ability to sleep as close to 20 minutes as possible and also the speed required for you to doze off, your snore and sleeping posture. It’s also held in the middle of a busy shopping mall so it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

National Siesta Championship in Madrid, Spain

Naps should be kept between 20-30 minutes. Any longer can disrupt your sleep cycle and could make you pretty grumpy.

Most Europeans, except the Germans, usually snooze or relax in the middle of the day. China, India, and parts of the Middle East are also big napping territories.

Humans are the only mammals who willingly delay sleep and plan naps.

A NASA study on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.

While napping at work isn’t acceptable in the U.S., in Japan, dozing off in most jobs is acceptable, including in parliament and in businesses. Naps at work are called inemur, which means, “to be asleep while present.” Inemur is viewed as exhaustion from working hard and sacrificing sleep for the job. Many people even fake napping to look committed to their job.

Google headquarters has “nap pods” that block out both light and sound.

I would like to observe National Napping Day in some way today. The switch to Daylight Saving Time always gets me out-of-synch so any advantage – or excuse – to nap seems like a good idea. The challenge is finding a place to do it.

My Life With CPAP

I have a love/hate relationship with my CPAP machine. I have probably documented this fact before in my blog. I would say I mostly hate it if I were being totally truthful about it. I spend every night tethered to my Dream Station CPAP machine.

For those who aren’t familiar with this, the CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Basically, it is a machine which blows air into into my nose and mouth to keep the airway open for those of us who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. That means we stop breathing during sleep for various periods at night. That’s kinda not a good thing. This machine is designed to help with that.

On a positive note, my CPAP machine has done that. Since I have started using the machine I have gone from 90 events per hour to an average of one per hour.

Yes, that’s good but I still hate the machine. I can never leave home without it and I never like putting the mask on my face at night. It’s a necessary annoyance in my life now. It is possible that if I lost enough weight that I could get off of it but that’s no guarantee. The machine isn’t too loud but enough to be annoying at times. It also dries my sinuses out a lot. I have a water attachment to it that is supposed to help but it doesn’t.

I guess the machine keeps me alive. That’s probably a good thing. When I sleep or nap without it I wake up with a headache so it makes a difference. But unlike those who claim it makes a huge difference and they wake up refreshed with the best sleep they have ever had – I have not experienced that myself. I’m still wondering about that. I suppose I should be happy I am breathing 89 more times each hour.

So therein is my dilemma. I hate it but I have to use it. It took a while for me to adjust to the machine in the beginning. In fact, the folks at the sleep lab were upset the first morning I used the machine when I woke up sick instead of celebrating the best sleep ever. They took it kinda personal. I had a difficult adjustment in the beginning.

I will say that the CPAP does help me fall asleep sooner. It doesn’t take long for me to drift off to sleep. I also dream a lot more now (although I can’t always remember what I dreamed) which my doctor says is a good sign that the machine is working. I don’t wake up with headaches as much but mostly I have to regain my balance since it does something in affecting it. Doctors haven’t been able to figure that one out.

No, I’m not in love with my CPAP but it’s like an annoying family member who moves in with you. The CPAP lives with me like an annoying relative and I just have to manage until me or the technology changes.