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Taking a nap is a healthy sunnah!

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  • Taking a nap is a healthy sunnah!

    He (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would take a nap at midday, so that this siesta would give him strength to pray qiyaam al-layl (voluntary prayers at night). He would say: “Take a nap at midday, for the Shaytaan does not take a nap at midday.” Narrated by at-Tabaraani in al-Awsat, 28; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah, 1647.

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    Should You or Shouldn’t You Power Nap?

    Regularly losing sleep and feeling lousy all day as a consequence? Naps might be a good tool for you. According to researchers from Harvard Medical School,

    … lately naps have been shedding some of their bad-for-you image. Researchers are finding benefits. A few employers have become accommodating of the quick snooze. And some research suggests that instead of fretting about napping more as we get older, we should plan on adding daytime sleep to our schedule as a way to make up for the normal, age-related decay in the quality of our nighttime sleep.

    We know that sleep deprivation not only puts people at a greater risk of having fatigue-related accidents, experiencing bad moods or having poor job performance, but constantly being tired can also raise the odds for suffering from chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. And turning to energy drinks or sugar for a pick-me-up is definitely not the answer. The biggest perk to naps might be better controlling cortisol and hormones related to stress.

    For years, many successful people have sworn by the benefits of the “power nap.” Even several ex-presidents used napping as a tool to boost productivity and improve overall functioning. Power naps have now become the focal point for research looking at natural ways to improve cognitive and motor functioning, while potentially also reducing harmfully high stress hormone levels that can contribute to disease formation and accelerated aging.

    So if chronic stress is killing your quality of life, perhaps it’s time to consider adding a power nap to your routine.

    The Proven Benefits of a Power Nap

    Research to date shows us that naps, when done the right way, can help balance hormones naturally and reduce sleepiness overall — especially the “lull” many of us experience in the afternoon — as well as improve mental and physical performance.

    And the good news is there’s no need to nap the day away to see some improvements. According to researchers from the School of Psychology at Flinders University in Australia, “A new biological process (called Process O) suggests that sleep onset followed by only 7–10 minutes of sleep can result in a substantial increase of alertness.”

    There’s plenty of advice available when it comes to planning the “perfect power nap.” It seems like napping has almost become a skill to some degree! It’s a good idea to be mindful about what sort of nap might serve you best. Different length naps have various effects on your abilities when you wake up. The benefits of a brief nap — somewhere between just five and 15 minutes — can almost immediately give you a quick “pick-me-up.” But this sort of short nap is thought to have benefits for a limited period, about one to three hours.

    Longer naps — the kind that last for more than 30 minutes — can produce a short-term impairment immediately after waking up due to “sleep inertia,” but then they become beneficial for producing improved cognitive performance for a longer period of time, up to several more hours until bedtime.

    Sleep inertia is a physiological state characterized by a decline in motor function and a feeling of grogginess immediately following an abrupt wake-up. So initially after waking up from a 30-minute to hourlong nap, you might feel out of it and even worse, but then after getting up and moving around for a bit, you’ll likely feel sharper and better than before you napped.

    What’s considered the ideal amount of time for a “power nap”?

    Findings from one 2006 study suggest that a 10-minute nap might be the most overall effective afternoon nap duration, mostly because it helps you avoid a feeling of sluggishness after waking up. During the study, a five-minute nap produced few benefits in comparison with the no-nap control. The 10-minute nap produced immediate improvements in all outcome measures (including sleep latency, subjective sleepiness, fatigue, vigor and cognitive performance), with some of these benefits maintained for as long as 2.5 hours!

    The longer 20-minute nap was associated with improvements emerging 35 minutes after napping (following some initial grogginess) and lasting up to 1.5 hours after napping. The 30-minute nap produced a period of impaired alertness and performance immediately after napping, indicative of sleep inertia, followed by improvements lasting up to 1.5 hours after the nap. Just remember, if you frequently can’t sleep come bedtime, you’ll probably want to take your naps earlier in the day, especially in they’re on the longer side.

    Other factors that affect the benefits from a power nap include:

    The circadian timing of the nap: Napping in the early afternoon seems to be the most favorable time. But researchers also point out that we could still use more information on the benefits of brief naps that are taken more naturally, at the time when sleepiness actually becomes intrusive.
    How long you’ve been up: Researchers point out that “longer periods of prior wakefulness favor longer naps over brief naps.” So if you often experience a lack of sleep or get up very early and are awake for many hours before the afternoon hits, a longer afternoon nap might be more beneficial than a shorter one.
    How often you nap: Some research shows that people who regularly nap seem to adjust to afternoon naps better than those who rarely do, plus they usually experience greater restoration and other benefits than only occasional nappers do.

    5 Health Benefits of the Power Nap

    1. Improves Cognitive Function

    Results from a 2007 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that a post-lunch power nap improves alertness and aspects of mental and physical performance. Ten healthy male adults either napped or sat quietly from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. after a night of shortened sleep, and then 30 minutes after the afternoon nap they were tested for various changes in performance. The results showed that the group of men who napped experienced significantly better improvements in alertness, short-term memory, intra-aural temperature, heart rate and scores on a short test.

    We know that a certain proportion of our learning capabilities are dependent on sleep, but naps might be able to help with learning and remembering information just as well as sleep can. Brief (60- to 90-minute) naps containing both slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep have been found to be very useful for mental performance for up to 24 hours.

    Another 2012 study published in the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges tested the effects of a brief afternoon nap on fatigued medical students. Nap group participants slept am average of eight to 12 minutes compared with the control group who did not nap. Those who napped had improved cognitive functioning and alertness, compared to the control group that experienced a number of attention failures on a brief test and had wakefulness that didn’t change from morning to afternoon.

    2. May Be Beneficial for Heart Health

    Missing sleep can take years off your life, but good news: Napping can help. A recent study conducted by the University of Athens Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who took naps regularly on average had lower coronary mortality than those who didn’t. The researchers defined “regular” naps as the kind that took place at least three times a week for about 30 minutes at a time.

    According to the National Institute of Health, naps are also useful for lowering stress and fighting feelings of “burn out” that can occur from overextending yourself and holding a high-stress job. High stress and increased cortisol can contribute to disease-causing inflammation, so regular time spent relaxing can help minimize heightened risk factors for heart disease.

    3. Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety

    Some research shows that napping can help reduce the stress-related impacts of getting bad or cut-off sleep. A 2012 study that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism researched the stress-related effects in adults of two short naps taken during the day, each lasting about 30 minutes, and the ability to repair some of the damage caused by a poor night’s sleep of just two hours. Biological indicators of the adults who napped, such as stress hormones, were measured and then compared to a control group.

    Researchers found that one of the three stress hormones measured, called noradrenaline, was increased the day after the men were sleep-deprived, but not if they were allowed to take naps. The level of a protein involved in beneficial immune responses (called Interleukin-6, or IL-6) was also reduced after little sleep but not if the men had naps. While these findings cannot prove that the immune system better “recovered” from stress after napping, it does seem to show favorable effects of napping for controlling stress hormones after sleep deprivation.

    Other studies involving children show similar benefits related to quality napping. Disruptive behaviors in children were associated with higher afternoon cortisol levels and shorter nap durations. The children who didn’t experience a rise in cortisol from morning to afternoon on average had more quality naps, less disruptive behaviors and interestingly slept for a shorter period of time at night, on average getting up earlier in the morning.

    4. Fights Food Cravings

    Being tired is notorious for leading to increased hunger and food cravings. When the afternoon hits, many people have a sweet addiction and crave chocolate, sweets, soda or coffee to keep them going and resolve issues associated with unstable blood sugar. But if you’ve got just 10–15 minutes, try a brief nap instead. This can ultimately help restore your concentration and willpower while lowering stress hormones that can contribute to cravings.

    Even better? Take a brief power nap followed by a brief power walk! Research suggests that a short walk can also help curb cravings and improve your mood.

    5. Can Help Improve Physical Performance

    Too tired to hit the gym after work? A brief power nap can help. Studies have found a correlation between short naps and improved athletic abilities, including faster sprint times and better motor reaction. This might especially be true following a poor night’s sleep that can have negative implications for athletes during training or before competition.

    The above information is from Dr. Axe.
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  • #2
    Re: Taking a nap is a healthy sunnah!

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    [FONT=Book Antiqua][SIZE=4][COLOR="#2F4F4F"][CENTER]Before you post, think..."Will this help me when I stand before Allah?" If it doesn't, then you're wasting time....[/CENTER][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]