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Beacon Senior News

Naps are underrated

Mar 02, 2020 04:21PM ● By Melanie Wiseman

Celebrate National Napping Day with quality sleep

Obviously, I’m not the only one who believes naps are underrated. The powers that designated the Monday following daylight savings time as National Napping Day totally get it. This year’s day to celebrate guilt-free extra zzz’s is March 9.

Even if we were solid sleepers in our younger years, by age 50, many of us find our quality of sleep unraveling, leading to a slippery slope into Zombieland if nothing is done to change our sleep habits.

One of my favorite comedic authors, Tom Papa, offers some great advice on sleep.

“One of the biggest mistakes you can make is coming into the kitchen in the morning declaring you had a great night’s sleep,” he said. “What a stupid thing to say to the person you share a bed with! One person’s good sleep comes at the cost of the other’s misery. If she tosses, he turns. If he snores, she listens…”

He suggests that when you are young and in love, you could sleep on an army cot together. Later in life, he suggests “separate beds, in separate rooms, on different sides of town.”

Think about it: If we have to sleep in the same bed to prove we love each other but it becomes a wrestling mat with flailing arms and legs, mouth guards, sinus strips, cold feet, hot bodies and fantasies of smothering our spouse with a pillow, then what’s the point?

“It would be much better if we stayed apart for the night, slept well, and had a nice breakfast together,” said Papa.

But seriously, insufficient sleep can impact metabolism, mood, memory and heart function. Getting more sleep—and quality sleep—is crucial for our active lifestyles. Take my advice:

Splurge on the largest and most comfortable mattress you can afford. Two extra-long twins pushed together to fit in a king frame but save you from feeling the other person’s each and every move. Bonus: You each can choose your own mattress firmness!

White noise helps. Don’t lose sleep over your partner’s snores or creaky floorboards. Consider a fan or white-noise machine with a calming effect. Ask Alexa to play rain sounds. White noise apps, earbuds, headphones and headbands are also very popular. I’ve used soft earplugs for 20 years, and what a difference they make!

Keep bedtime consistent. This helps to regulate your body’s clock.

Keep electronics out of the bedroom. The light emanating from the screens activates the brain.

Listen to your body. If it’s telling you to nap, embrace it. Instead of thinking of a nap as a luxury or sign of slacking off, view it as recharging yourself.