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
2. Get involved in organizations which support your views
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.