The Shabbat Nap It’s Good Medicine
By Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N
For some, the weekly tradition of taking a long, restful snooze on Shabbat is absolutely non-negotiable; they wouldn’t miss it for the world. After a brisk morning trip to the synagogue, followed by a hearty meal shared with loved ones and friends, an hour or so of shut-eye seems like an ideal way to spend an afternoon. But the benefits go well beyond the obvious. There are medical studies that say that napping is an extremely healthy thing to do.
According to experts at the Boston University’s Center for Psychological Rehabilitation, a brief, midday nap is a great remedy for a lousy night’s sleep. Most Americans are sleep deprived. Some may do fine on as few as 5 hours of sleep, but the average adult functions best with 7-8 hours a night. If you have missed several of these precious hours, your body will want to be “repaid. A nap does just that. Those extra moments of sleep can increase productivity, sharpen the senses, and lift the spirit.
A nap can also be used for more than just regaining lost sleep. It can help you prepare for a long night ahead. According to studies conducted at the Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit, a two-hour or four-hour nap taken prior to being up all night, helped individuals stay alert the following day.
And the benefits don’t end there. The traditional “Shabbos shluf can help reduce your risk of becoming obese. Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine recently funny pictures linked obesity to a lack of sleep. According to the study, the less people slept, the heavier they tended to be. In addition to following a healthy diet and participating in a regular physical activity, getting adequate sleep should be an important part of any weight-loss program. Obese individuals also frequently developed problems that made it even more difficult to sleep, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and indigestion.
But a nap is not for everyone. If you have insomnia or suffer from depression taking a nap can worsen your symptoms. A nap should also not be taken too close to bedtime or last longer than 90 minutes. Doing this, may throw off your body’s internal clock.
You may have always considered your weekly rest time a luxury; now you don’t have to. Next Shabbat, as you excuse yourself from the table to tiptoe off to bed, know that you are getting a dose of some of the best medicine you can take. Chalomot Paz! (Sweet dreams!)
Copyright Jewish Diabetes Association. Last updated June 2017©