Nighttime Sleep = No NapPods Necessary!
Arianna Huffington is my hero. Really. And I’m not just saying this because I am one of her bloggers. Arianna’s new book “Thrive” is fabulous. She makes some great points from which we can all learn.
As an author myself, having written 7 lifestyle books to date, and as the spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council, I just want to open up a conversation about one particular subject: the nap pod. Arianna says that she has several of them in her offices for her employees. Google also has them, too.
These nap pods have been getting a lot of press lately. They are said to be the next, new, big thing. Some companies even have whole rooms filled with them. Employees are allowed, even encouraged, to take breaks throughout their workdays to utilize these pods and take a nap. How much does each one cost? Anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000 EACH! But unless employees are working swing shifts, or more than 8-hour days, I don’t think that nap pods, or nap rooms, are such a good idea.
What’s so bad about this, you might think? What’s wrong with a nap at work in the middle of the day?
Whether you are napping at your desk, in the back seat of your car, or in a luxury “nap pod” this is time you could be using more productively. Sleeping around, that is not in your bed, is just bad on so many levels – so let me just break all this it down for you – and I have a feeling that you will agree with me.
Why are people feeling like they need a nap at work? Because they are not getting either the quality of sleep, or the quantity of sleep, that they need at night. Simple science. When you get the sleep you need at night – you don’t NEED a nap during the day.
If you take a nap during the day, you are more likely to stay up later at night. So, you end up NOT getting that nighttime sleep you need, yet again. You feel a little groggy after your nap, have a coffee to perk up, and miss more sleep at night. And you can follow the dots to see what happens – this ends up becoming a habit, and gradually, eventually, your whole schedule is going to be out of whack. It’s not hard to imagine thinking: “oh, I can stay up a half an hour later and make it up at naptime at work.” Sleep doesn’t work that way, and neither should you.
Let’s look at the cost involved. It has been said that a lack of sleep costs businesses $63 BILLION dollars a year. These nap pods aren’t helping, they’re actually making matters worse by creating more of a loss of sleep at NIGHT, when it really matters. Plus, depending on how many employees a company has, and how many nap-pods a company decide to provide – you can do the math as to how much work time companies lose from each employee so they can take their nap – that’s all going to add up to lots of dollars.
Instead – isn’t it better, doesn’t it make more sense, to sleep at night, and be active during the day? Are we asking ourselves this very question – “How well do you sleep at night?”
Doesn’t it sound better to sleep at home, in your own bed, on your own comfy mattress, than napping in some “pod?” We are not robots! You can’t literally plug us in when our batteries are running low. We are human beings, and we are wired to sleep at night, when it is dark, and to be active during the day when the sun is out. That is the way nature intended it to be! And I have information – Ancient Wisdom, thousands of years old – that proves it!
Interestingly, most of what we know about sleep we’ve learned in the past 25 years. Relatively – this is “new” wisdom! And most sleep disorders have developed in recent history as well. During pre-electric times adults slept 9-10 hours a night, and kept their sleep schedules in line with both the seasons and the sun. But now experts say that one of the biggest distractions to sleep is our 24/7 access to the internet.
And now, many people both start and end their day in bed with their smart phone. Before their feet hit the floor they are checking their emails and social media pages. How many times have you checked your computer or smartphone today?
We’ve gotten ourselves into bad habits – and the first step is recognizing this! So let’s take a step back, let’s recognize some ancient wisdom, from the 5,000 year old Science of Life that is called “AYURVEDA.”
Ayurveda is the original form of medicine. Out of Ayurveda came Greek medicine, which then led to our current form of medicine known as allopathic medicine. And although Ayurveda has been continually practiced in India and Asia for all these thousands of years, it has recently become more known and practiced here in the west because of the popularity of yoga and meditation. Ayurveda is a sister-science with these two popular practices.
Ayurveda teaches us the nature of everything on the planet. And it teaches us how to live in harmony with nature. When we apply the principles of Ayurveda to our lives we can be our healthiest and happiest. The universe supports us. It’s like going with the flow. Everything is easier. We’re in the groove. We’re in sync.
Ayurveda tells us that just like there are seasons in the year, there are times during the day when the energy around us supports us in our efforts.
Let’s start at the beginning of the day:
6:00 am – 10:00 am – KAPHA time
When the sun rises, it is a signal to start our day, wake up, meditate, exercise, shower, and eat. Kapha time is gentle, slow and heavy, it allows us time to gear up for the day, to prepare for the day ahead.
10:00 am – 2:00 pm – PITTA time
During this time, our productivity is high and our intellect is strong. This is the time of day when we get our best, and our most, work done. It is also time when our digestion is the strongest during the day, so it is a good idea to have lunch, and have that be the largest meal of the day.
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – VATA time
During these hours, our creativity is in full bloom. This is a great time to brainstorm, to problem solve, and to think up those big ideas that move us forward. Be a visionary, make plans, allow your creativity to have full expression.
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm – KAPHA time
By 6:00 pm, ideally, we will have completed our work day. This is time to have our second meditation, and then have dinner. Try to finish your meal by 7 pm. After dinner it’s a good idea to take a walk to aid digestion, and then relax. Read, visit with friends, listen to music. It’s even fine to use the computer or watch TV, with the caveat that all technology should be off by 9 pm, or one hour prior to bedtime. Use that last hour for a pre-bedtime ritual – maybe a warm bath, getting in your pajamas, reading a book.
If you don’t get to bed by 10 pm, if you’re on the computer or involved in a TV show and tempted to stay up later – you’ll get that “second wind” and it will be more difficult to fall asleep. There is a definite shift in energy at 10 pm.
10:00 pm – 2:00 am – PITTA time
By 10:00 pm be in bed, lights out and ready for sleep. The room should be dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable. Make sure your mattress is in good shape. Too often we splurge on things like big screen TVs and skimp on necessities like a mattress. But a mattress is an investment in our health and wellness. You can’t put a price on that. If you’re getting back aches, or you’ve had your mattress for more than 5-7 years, chances are it’s time for a new one.
During the hours of 10 pm and 2 am this is the time our bodies are getting the rest that they need to restore. We don’t need to do anything but snooze. Nature is at work, active in healing the body. We can rest easy knowing this.
2:00 am – 6:00 am – VATA time
These four hours are when we have our most vivid dreams. This is our mind at work, our subconscious and unconscious working out problems that we might not have been able to solve during our waking hours in the day. We definitely want to be asleep during this time to get these benefits.
And then at 6:00 am we wake up, and begin our day again, fresh and new!
This is the Ayurvedic lifestyle, and THIS is how we need to live our lives. When we do this we have tons of energy, we feel good, look good, are productive, healthy, we have better relationships, and all that comes along with it!
This is 5,000 year old SCIENCE. And some of you will say it’s just common sense. And it is! But when will be learn it? We’ve gotten so far away from it with all of our 24/7 technology – and we think we’re doing ourselves a favor with these nap pods but we’re very likely making matters worse.
So, I say – yes, continue with the meditation room and the yoga room for employees. There is definitely a place for these in the workforce. But I’d re-think the whole nap pod thing. I want to encourage people to live in harmony with nature, to get that glorious, restorative, necessary sleep at night, when it is dark – and to be active and productive during the daylight hours. This helps to keep us in balance, to be our happiest and healthiest.
I know this isn’t possible for everyone. Some people work night shifts, or double shifts. And for them the nap pod may be just the thing to help “re-charge” their batteries. But for the rest of us, let’s do the best we can, using the ancient wisdom that has been keeping the planet on course all these thousands of years. Live an ayurvedic lifestyle and experience true balance and bliss.
For more information about getting a good night’s sleep visit BetterSleep.org