A few years ago I was saying to my doctor that afternoon naps were becoming a problem. I would push through the day for as long as possible, then crash into bed when I couldn’t take it anymore and sleep for hours, usually running into dinner time and also disrupting my evening sleep routine. My body would be aching so much by the time I stopped to rest that would be uncomfortable and hard to relax. Most of the time I would fall asleep so fast from exhaustion and sleep so heavily and overtime, it would take ages to wake and be functional again. Each night I would be winding up again and full of energy when I was due to be falling asleep for the night. Maintaining a regular nighttime sleep routine was becoming impossible.
The flow-on effects weren’t healthy but I desperately needed more sleep and rest for my body to recover. Looking back on it now, the whole routine was not the kindest way to treat my body.
My doctor and I discussed the process and the problems, going through all the elements – the good, the bad and the ugly.
His suggestion: rest before you need it.
So simple and incredibly effective.
Don’t wait until your body is sore and achy, and you are past the point of tolerating it. Don’t wait until you are so exhausted that you need a long rest to restore every depleted part of your body and mind. Don’t wait until every task is done, if you feel like you are slowing down or your focus is wavering, have a nap!
I was waiting until at least 4-5pm to lay down and have a rest, trying to get the majority of the day over and done with. My doctor’s suggestion to beat the completely exhausted and painful state was to preempt it! Just go for a rest or nap at 3pm! Or 2pm!
We have all seen what a toddler is like if they don’t have a nap at the right time. We watch them slow down in their activities, rub their eyes, and get impatient or irritable. As a parent if you miss the opportunity to get them down for a nap at the right time, the toddler usually gets cranky or wound up into a tantrum. After that, we all know it’s going to be a long process to get them settled and back to the sleepy state, or miss nap time completely and be stuffed for the rest of the day.
Who says adults aren’t the same and don’t need a decent rest break regularly too?
Some days now I’ll have a rest right after lunch, if I have had an early start or a busy morning. I don’t question it anymore – I just go to bed! I know I’ll be able to relax into sleep without an overworked body, I’ll be much more alert and productive when I wake up, I can get by with a shorter rest and don’t often oversleep, and my nighttime sleep routine isn’t disrupted.
Call it a half time game break!
Take heart, Readers. I’ll keep the light on.
With a little experimenting, rituals and preparation, you can master quality rest time.
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