I'm happy to report that there is a renewed interest in the benefits of sleep, which includes napping.
For too long, it seemed that sleep was seen as something that got in the way of one's life. People were made to feel as if they weren't being productive; they were wasting their time. Feelings of guilt, fed by a culturally-influenced idea that one could be, or should be, doing something better with their time other than sleeping, may be a contributing factor to the lack of zzzzz's heard across the continent.
Stress can impair the quality of your sleep. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can remain in your body for up to 13 hours. That means that you could have forgotten about the thing that stressed you out that afternoon, but your body hasn't. At bedtime, cortisol may still be in your system. In fact, your untransformed stress may be causing you to stockpile cortisol, which contributes to your inability to get a restorative rest.
- Increase pain.
- Contribute to weight gain.
- Cause premature aging.
- Increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
- Extinguish your libido.
- Impair your cognitive abilities.
- Destroy your relationships.
- Deflate your resilience.
Stress also can also affect you in the same way. Transform your stress and you can improve the quality of your slumber.
Here is my latest post on HealthCentral's Rheumatoid Arthritis site: A Nap on the Couch: Frivolity or Necessity?
This article originally appeared on RA Hub on HealthCentral.com in 2014. To read my other articles, please see HealthCentral.com Writing Gig.