As we step into Thanksgiving week and start prepping for the big dinner day — and the subsequent flood of Christmas songs, holiday lights, and parties that follow — we thought we’d celebrate the biggest little thing to bring us solace and relief during the craziness of this season.
Yes, we’re aware we’re Sleep Club and celebrating dozing is what we’re all about. After all, we write articles about its benefits, share great vacation spots that are geared toward it, offer some cool accoutrements from comfy, cozy wear to Jeff Bridges’ somnolent tapes to thrill your dreamy senses and beyond. But this time, we’d love to offer up some rather delightful little tidbits we discovered on grabbing quick snoozes — the keyword being “quick” — to refresh, rejuvenate and relax so you can enjoy your family, friends and feast that much better.
The four zzzz’s of napping
Okay, we have a bit of a love hate relationship with naps, we’ll admit it. From our research and own lives, some of us are better at it than not. What we have learned, however, is there’s a sort of Rule of 3 about naps. As we’ve looked deeper into it for the season, we’ve added a 4th for your relaxation pleasure as well as a myth breaker.
One, plan your catnap
We know how it goes. You’ve been prepping for the festivities all morning. You decide to sit down “just for a minute” and before you know it, you’re jerking yourself awake. We get it. It happens. And when it does, two things are often the case: you fall into some sort of twilight-y, half-in, half-out semi-snooze state that doesn’t really refresh you. Or you sleep so deeply that you wake to discover hours have gone by and you’re all groggy and irritated with yourself that you slept so long (and burned the pumpkin pie but that may just be me).
Research shows that by planning your naps, your internal time clock gets trained and you’ll actually go to sleep then wake up feeling the way naps are supposed to work — energized and ready for Culinary/Family Round 2.
Two, find your comfy, quiet, cool, dark spot
We’ve discussed this before, but we’ll say it again. Sleep comes best when your environment supports it. That means some place that feels good to you — with comfortable pillows, deliciously cozy sheets, and just the right temperature. Find a spot where the lights are low and sounds are minimal. This is where we find ourselves in battles over napping.
A nap needs to be given the same level of attention as your nightly sleep. Set the stage with candles, soothing music, scents, dim lighting, lush linen — whatever trips your trigger, truly.
Create a haven for rest, even if just for the recommended...
Three, 20 minutes or less
Your body needs to be rejuvenated through a quick sleep. Fine. Set your timer for 20 minutes, take your nap then get up and go about your day. Easy. Why? Because once you get past that 20 minutes, you go into a deeper sleep that can make it very difficult to pull yourself out without feeling groggy, irritable and, in some cases, as tired as ever (even more).
You also don’t want to sleep too long or too late in the day, because that will make it harder to go down for the count at night.
And that brings us to our fourth little tidbit which is...
Four, nap BEFORE 2:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving is a go, go, go kind of holiday. You’re focused on making a beautiful table, ensuring everyone’s enjoying themselves, preparing a feast — or helping — and you’re on the move. Who can blame you if you don’t get a chance to get some quick dozing done until after everything is said and done, later in the day? Well, no one, really, HOWEVER, you may deeply regret it. Unless you’re planning on calling it a night at 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, taking a nap too late in the day will defeat its purpose for the simple fact you’ll have a harder time going to bed at your usual evening time.
If you can get in a quick snooze before 2:00 p.m. — and that means, in bed, resting, then up and going BY 2:00 not just starting all that AT 2:00 — you will gain the extraordinary benefits of said small indulgence.
Yes, turkey has tryptophan, BUT…
That’s not why you feel sleepy at the end of your turkey dinner. There are other foods with tryptophan and they don’t make you feel like laying your head down within minutes of eating them. Nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, fish, beans, lentils… You get the drift. So what is this all about turkey being the go-to sleep food of the season?
Sorry to bust your myth bubble, but you get tired after eating a Thanksgiving dinner because of ALL of the food — the carbs, the abundance, the running around, the ability to FINALLY truly rest after all of the lead up to this day. It’s like a weight has been lifted off of you as well as one added to your “plate” with all of the food you’ve eaten. And that’s why a giant turkey dinner makes you sleepy. How could it not?
Such a tiny, sweet dream thing
It’s a little thing, really. Getting good sleep, whether at nap time or night time, just makes everything better. We didn’t make that up. It’s being roared from the rafters and yet…
Such a small, everyday, routine-y thing making such a huge difference in our lives? Yes, it is. And this Thanksgiving, we wish you great big buckets of comfortable, refreshing and energizing sleep to make the moments you spend with your family and friends that much sweeter.
Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.
But in your dreams whatever they be
Sweet Thanksgiving we wish thee.