Sleep, Anxiety, and why napping is good for you!

Sleep, Anxiety, and why napping is good for you!

Sleep is one of the mysteries of life. No one can actually give an in depth explanation of why we need it. A process that makes us vulnerable to predators, yet we need so much of it.

We are not built to sleep all night and be awake all day. Like all other mammals, we are designed to take several sleeps over a 24 hour period.

My theory is that not napping in the day can actually contribute to sleepless nights.

Let me explain......

We have a small area in the brain called the amygdala. This assesses all information from all the senses and filters for danger. If danger is present, then the appropriate action is taken, if not then it is dismissed to the memory.

Throughout the day there will be elements that the amygdala cannot make sense of. It will keep hold of these for processing. The more information it stores, the larger it grows, and the more it can store, heightening levels of anxiety and stress.

The processing occurs the most during sleeping hours, whilst you dream. Brain monitoring shows the amygdala as the most active part of the brain while you are dreaming. This is its opportunity to clear and reset.

When we nap during the day, we get the opportunity to clear the stored stuff from the day, resetting the amygdala and allowing to to deal with the afternoon with a clear sheet. So when you sleep at night you only have half the days stored stuff to deal with. This is natural and in normal circumstances we can cope easily to sort everything.

However, if we don't nap, we have an entire day's information in the amygdala, so there is that heightened level of anxiety and stress. Couple this with a stressful job, home life or other contributing factors, and the amygdala becomes hyperalert. This in turn heightens the perception of danger, which will prevent the ability to switch off and sleep.

So, in short, nap for a better night's sleep.

Martin Rothery

Founder and Creator of Sanomentology

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