Columnist Steve Wells: Rapid fat loss from napping
Our society seems to frown upon the lazy and selfish habit of napping. The only people whom are respectfully allowed to nap are children and seniors. I would argue that we do everything we can to avoid napping, emphatically denying our own fatigue, but somehow ready to engage in the next extreme, exciting “thing.”
There is no end to the “legal uppers” you can order from the comfort of your running SUV to keep on keepin’ on in our drug/electronics based society. Many of us delusional go-getters choose the uppers over the nap to get ahead or to attain a rare smidgen of ever diminishing me-time. There are a million bad reasons to avoid naps and sleep all together.
Here is why napping may be the best thing you can do for yourself…
We are extremely sleep deprived as a nation. Sleep deprivation may be the most efficient form of torture next to waiting in line at the DMV. There are many reasons for lack of sleep which vary from the Wi-Fi device infinitely glued to our faces to the neighbor’s cute new rescue pet. Naps are proven to help even if you are chronically sleep deprived. It is almost impossible to block out the river of sleep distractions, so I recommend that you get it when you can.
When I analyzed the benefits of napping, I immediately realized why it is not promoted by “the man” — who must nap a lot to run us into the ground so efficiently. However, most of the stuff that keeps us buzzing right along is legal and vastly promoted, while nappers are regarded to be lazy like the vast majority of cultures around the world who do nap and have almost none of the slow-death-symptoms that we enjoy here in the U.S. I believe that sleep deprivation is an enormous contributor to our declining physical and mental health.
Here are some of the benefits of napping:
Creative thinking: It is proven that creative thinking, and all thinking, improves with a regular nap. Research shows that thinking can often be good for us. Creative thinking, however, is where the real danger lies so please be careful.
Memory: Imagine actually remembering important stuff like anniversaries and the location of the car keys. This function is proven to be enhanced by regular short naps.
Nerves: We might actually get sleep, think creatively more often, and have a better memory if we could just calm down without drug-therapy, since the side-effects from the drug-therapy often tweaks our nerves. This phenomenon makes some people billions of dollars and makes many others into addicts. Naps are proven to calm down a tuned up nervous system similar to other natural calming methods like breathing, counting to 10 or mercilessly pounding the heavy bag at the gym.
Blood pressure: An estimated one third of the country, magically, has high blood pressure. Huh, I wonder why. About 70 percent of Americans who know they have high blood pressure take medications for it even though increased exercise and a proper diet is the number one and number two ways to reduce blood pressure. Adequate sleep and naps also help significantly. The problem is that you can’t patent and sell adequate sleep and naps, and neither is covered under the unaffordable health care act.
Alertness: A nap will help you improve alertness much more than 5 hour energy, six hour energy and my own invention, 2½ hour energy, which is all the energy in half the time.
Weight loss: People who get enough sleep enjoy many health benefits including weight loss, or more importantly a lack of weight gain. Weight loss is such a dumb set of words anyway as you can be heavy and healthy and light and very unhealthy. The nap will help you regulate proper hormone function, particularly cortisol levels. If cortisol levels are chronically sky-high, “weight loss” will be next to impossible.
Tax deduction: Just kidding, accountants! Imagine the logistics of writing off naps. Besides, the man would never give us a break for something that actually works. This would work because Americans will do almost anything for a tax break. Sadly, I would argue that we would do almost nothing unless there was a tax deduction.
Perhaps once again, children and seniors are the only ones who have it right.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.
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Marti Barbour was selected almost 20 years ago as the first recipient of a Habitat For Humanity house in the Roaring Fork Valley. She paid off her mortgage in June and recalled the dire times her family faced and the help that Habitat provided.