In the Land of Nod

It has been a tough year. We’ve had shocking election results. We’ve had the re-emergence of Nazism, We’ve had the threat of nuclear war, we’ve had unprecedented natural disasters, and now we may witnessing our closest neighbor self-destruct.

Magazines, newspapers and books are rife with hateful articles, we don’t dare turn on the television news, and social media is exploding with angry posts.

We are suffering from insomnia like never before, therapists report a steep increase in new patients and we hear that millions are taking antidepressants.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, many of us exhibit the signs of PTSD, a potentially debilitating condition which occurs in people who have witnessed a life-threatening or traumatic event.

There’s even a name for it: It’s called Trump Trauma, and here are some suggestions for how to overcome it:

Five ways to overcome Trump Trauma

1. Unplug

2. Get involved in organizations which support your views

3. Exercise

4. Try to be understanding of those who voted for Trump

5. Go to Therapy

We’ve all found our own ways to cope. Some of us have written letters to politicians, some have expressed our anger online, some of us have started exercising more, or gone travelling, and some of us have given up and increased our consumption of wine.

Here’s my solution to Trump Trauma

I’ve discovered afternoon napping.

There’s a lot of good news out there about napping. It’s touted as a great way to forget your troubles for an hour or so every afternoon, and repair your shattered nerves. It can give you a new lease on life, they say.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that a short 20-30 nap will improve your alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with your nighttime sleep.

“Napping has psychological benefits,” they say, “A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.”

The older you are, the better the nap

And if you are older, the news is even better. The Journal of the American Geriatric Society recently reported on a study by the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Johns Hopkins University.

The new study suggests that an afternoon nap of around one hour is ideal for improving cognitive functioning among older adults.

The researchers came to their findings by analyzing the data of 2,974 Chinese adults aged 65 and older who were part of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study.

All participants underwent a series of tests that assessed various abilities, including attention, episodic memory, and visuospatial capabilities. Mathematical tests, world recall, and figure drawing were also included.

The results showed that a moderate-duration nap of 30-90 minutes taken after lunch was associated with better overall cognition. Older adults who did not nap had overall lower scores. The researchers were surprised, however, to discover that participants who napped longer than 90 minutes had significantly lower cognition scores as well. This finding, among others, suggested that further research in this field is warranted.

And yes, there is a downside

But not all, I discovered, is rosy in the Land of Nod. Another article written by the Healthline Editorial Team suggests that a desire to nap during the day may be a sign of other things—an urge to escape reality for one, and possibly and indication of a developing sleep disorder.

Perpetual fatigue and irritability during the day can be a real problem, they say, and may result in difficulty concentrating. Falling asleep at inappropriate times, mostly when sitting still while watching television or reading, is also a concern.

To address this problem, the researchers suggest you start a sleep journal, and use it as a tool to help you and your doctor arrive at some well documented conclusions about why you are not getting sufficient rest, and have to resort to napping during the day.

This seems an incredible amount of work and effort just to confirm you are not suffering from a sleep disorder, and to prove that you are not really trying to escape reality.

Given that it’s been such a difficult year, with all of this election-induced anxiety, I prefer to take my chances, and just have the nap. Reality, as someone once said, is overrated, anyway.

 

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38 Responses to In the Land of Nod

  1. “Given that it’s been such a difficult year, with all of this election-induced anxiety, I prefer to take my chances, and just have the nap. Reality, as someone once said, is overrated, anyway.”

    Amen to that. I have felt this way about the larger culture, which is only manufactured reality anyway, although it is very real, it can kill you. It isn’t real though, in that it that it is so far up there or out there that very little you do will have any significant effect on it. Not much of what you read in the news is rigorously reported, being that most of the media is owned by a few with agendas. Politics and the news is the elephant in the room. Doing what you can, when you can in your small world is the limit of our agency. And worrying about what the elephant is doing, beyond knowing where it is and if it is headed your way, only leads to poor health.

    I agree, take that nap!

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I like your last line, Maggie! Especially about it being headed our way, which in the case of the Trump effect, may be closer than we think! I don’t know if awareness will keep us safe, but I still think it’s important to know what is going on (especially if it’s something as critical as NAFTA), even though we may not be able to do a thing about it.

  2. Rummuser says:

    I have been having siestas for two decades now without any adverse reaction. Since I stopped full time work and retired, I have even started a short mid morning nap and here again without any adverse impact. And, I sleep 7 hours every night too.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      You are fortunate. Many, me included, are affected by having naps—it seems to be either, or. A short nap seems fine for me, but if I nap more than 30 minutes, my sleep is affected. Oh, well…

  3. Mary says:

    My sleep is not as good at 70 either. I don’t nap…for some reason, I just can’t. I can sit in my recliner and close my eyes and somewhat drift, but not a full nap. And I often fall asleep in front of the TV unless the show is exciting and holds my attention. I sleep about 6/7 hours…no sleep aids. I wake up early before light.

    But I was widowed 4 years ago and before that, I had no sleep problems other than that darn TV recliner thing😊😊. I’ve done that for years!

    Trump Trauma bothers me some, but it’s mostly not understanding how any sane and caring person can support him. Makes me feel there are a lot more racist, unkind and judgmental people out there than I ever imagined. That is my real disappointment.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      “The recliner thing”, as you say, happens to us all, I think. In my case, it’s the couch. Watching TV lying on the couch, seems to be an invitation to doze off!

  4. Barry Dym says:

    A wonderful set of prescriptions. I’d add one. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a passive victim. To remedy this we might join the activists, get out and work for the principles that you stand for.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Absolutely, Barry. I’m in Canada, though, and except for the famous women’s march of last January, our opportunities to protest are few and far between. But I know that’s just an excuse (LOL) and if I looked a little harder, I’d find lots of ways to be more active! Thanks for the ‘nudge’!

  5. I often have what I call a “horizontal” – I need to lie down, but a nap won’t come – so I lie flat and just drift (a bit like your recliner friend) – I say to myself “taking the weight off my feet” – sometimes I can’t lie in horizontal especially if I’m out but have run out of energy, then I find a full seat and just day dream, until I’m ready to get up and go on again…

    I have an illness that means I run out of energy a lot, I also have some difficulties from time to time with sleep – but I’ve had a lot of experience, and I know when to stop 🙂 and how to fix most of the energy loss…

    As for all the reasons not-to or yes-to – that is immaterial…of course, I’m not in the Northern hemisphere although right now there is “many talks” on forming a new gov’t here under the MMP system – it’s a tight race since our elections a couple of weeks ago, I believe that sometime this week all special votes will have been counted and they can really get down to the “talking with the minor parties who won seats…”

    But I can’t see much changing for all their election bribes (ooops future platforms) – and actually I didn’t bother with it much this year, just ticked the boxes I wanted, and wandered away from the voting booth.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      We all have different ways of getting the rest we need, and it seems we all need more rest as we grow older. I like your use of the word ‘horizontal’ to indicate a nap!

  6. aunt beulah says:

    I used to never nap because the few times I did, I woke up groggy and disoriented. Then I had the bright idea of setting the timer on my phone for thirty minutes and being awakened by the happy melody I selected with no sleep hangover at all. Now I enjoy sliding into an afternoon nap when I feel the need. As for Trump trauma, I refuse to spend more than twenty minutes a day listening to talking heads and newscasters talk about him or reading about him or thinking about him. It helps.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I think setting a time limit to listen to the news is a good solution to avoiding the stress of keeping up to what’s happening in the world. I do believe we need to stay informed, if only to know if and when there is something happening that could endanger us. After all, it is a volatile world!

  7. DJan says:

    I am a good sleeper but have never been able to nap. I also cannot sleep on airplanes unless I’m horizontal (which isn’t easy to do on a plane). In yoga, however, I really feel the tremendous restful period known as savasana to work wonders in relaxing me. I have plenty of Trump Trauma, that’s for sure. I just bought Hillary’s book and will settle down to read it. 🙂

  8. Janis says:

    For a moment I forgot that you are Canadian and when I read “and now we may be witnessing our closest neighbor self-destruct,” I thought “is there something going on in Canada or Mexico that I don’t know about?” Then, I realized that you were talking about us. I wonder if I could just take a 3 1/2 year nap, waking only for the mid-term elections and the next presidential election.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Nothing has made us more aware of what a small world it is than this current crisis! It seems we are all citizens of every country, and especially the most powerful ones—those that have the most influence in the world. Every move the US makes is watched by anxious people everywhere. It’s such a responsibility, I know!

  9. Derrick John Knight says:

    Watching an antiques programme after lunch works wonders in the nodding department

  10. Fran says:

    And after today, more of us will have insomnia and will be taking anti-depressants. The problem is that we’re all scared and rather rightly so. As my past therapist used to say: “If you’re not a little anxious and depressed in this world, there really is something wrong with you.” That was pre-9/11. Things sure haven’t gotten better in the past almost 20 years.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I’m with you on that, Fran! But things have really escalated this past year—at least that’s my feeling!

  11. I am a great believer in the power of a nap. I even have my own little trick for not falling into a prolonged deep sleep. I drink a cup of coffee and then lie down. The caffeine will kick in about 20 to 30 minutes into the nap and wake you up. Between the caffeine and the nap, I ready to go, go, go.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I’m sure it’s ‘watch out world’ after that! I always admire the things you accomplish, Bernadette! Now, I know your secret!

  12. Trump Trauma! I will tell my girls about that…we all have it, we were just missing a defining name. My two older daughters, fairly passive politically for most of their lives, are now in activist mode, and I am so proud of them. But, that said, I still worry about our country. My coach has forbidden me from watching TV news first thing in the morning, and I find that helps. I generally hold off until it’s nearly noon. That has helped! Dear Lord…we live in a crazy world, and I hope your Canadian friends realize that we’re really sorry about this mess. Really sorry…

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Oh my, thanks Margie. I understand, though, that right wing hateful thinking is not restricted to the US. Just last night, we had a terrorist attack in one of our largest cities. That has frightened us, and made us realize that we are not immune. You are on the right track, by the way, to restrict your consumption of the news…

  13. Clive says:

    I always find that a daytime nap affects my night’s sleep, so I try not to do it! Since I retired I sleep much better anyway, although I never go through a night without waking at least once. I guess we all work out what is best for us, there don’t seem to be any easy universal answers.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      When I first retired, I slept 8 hours a night. I’m not doing that any more! With time slipping by so fast, I want to be awake more of the time.

  14. joared says:

    Trump Trauma is definitely rampant in the U.S. as well as around the world. Mostly I’m able to follow it all without adverse physical health effects…..so far. I do what I can to counter what I perceive to be amiss within the limitations aging has imposed and have to be satisfied with that. I think I avoid a lot of the highly emotional rabble that seems to upset so many on Twitter and Facebook, since I don’t use either. Many have been further victimized by the deliberate polluting there reportedly injected by Russia.
    A bit of shuteye in the afternoon often is an activity I indulge in myself. My inclination to be a night owl makes me prime for an afternoon snooze.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Skipping Twitter and Facebook helps, Joared. I check into Twitter because of the up-to-date articles on a wide variety of subjects. I’ve deleted the people who persist in posting anything political, so that helps a bit. But it’s television news that gets me. Still get caught in that web!

  15. With overpopulation, climate change, etc. mankind is in for a rough ride, but I haven’t been wasting my precious time worrying. When I can I make a contribution, but I’m 77, almost 78, and focus on appreciating what I still have.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      You contribute through your blog, cheerfulmonk.com, which I never miss! It always brightens my day.

  16. When I was younger naps left me groggy and out of sorts. But lately I find a nap to the be best thing in the afternoon. Stretch out on the couch with a good book and just relax for a while. And, as you point out, you’re unplugged from the trauma of the news.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I always start out with a book as well. Depending on how riveting it is (or not!), I’m sometimes asleep in minutes!

  17. Naps are great! And as to the concern that napping may indicate a desire to escape from reality – ABSOLUTELY! We have a lot of bad reality to escape from! My current escape is to go to the movies once a week. Today I’m going to see the feel-good movie “Stronger” about a person who deals with a devastating accident. It’s how I unplug from TrumpWorld. Thanks for your post! We need all the help we can get in these times.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Thanks, Rin. I’m trying to lighten the anxiety load every day, by whatever means I can find! I’m sure thousands are trying to do the same. I hope you enjoy the movie!

  18. Hi Diane! YES! I am a big advocate to naps. And like you say, there is plenty of research that shows how beneficial it is to us all–especially as the years go by. Not only does it allow our bodies and our minds to rest from all the “news” it gives us something else that is healthy and beneficial to do in these troubling times. And yes, as you know all the research about Blue Zones (areas in the world where people live longer and happier) show that it is a great quality for a long and happy life. Thanks for the reminder for us all. ~Kathy

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I do know about ‘Blue Zones’, but need to revisit it! I think the research continues in that area, and there is always something new. Thanks, Kathy, hope you are enjoying your break!

  19. maddy says:

    My problem with the afternoon nap is I need to remember to put my alarm on, otherwise I don’t wake up till the middle of the night. That really messes my sleep up!

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      For most of us ‘olders’, a long sustained sleep isn’t even possible. A little over an hour, and I’m awake! I can see, though, that sleeping until the next morning, would really upset your sleep pattern!

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