When I was first diagnosed with lupus, one of the things I learned was that the fatigue of a flare can be overwhelming. “Bone-numbing” is a description I’ve used a lot to try to help others understand how beyond-tired I can suddenly feel. Of course, as with many lupus patients, my diagnosis did not happen exactly when the disease first presented itself. I probably had lupus way before a doctor figured it out – I had no clue what lupus even was until my rheumatologist told me that’s what she thought I had.
One thing I did know way before lupus, however, was the power of the nap. The llooonnng nap – two or three hours of snoozing away in the middle of the day. Ah, what a wonderful thing! You can imagine, then, how delighted I was when my doctor told me that I had to rest, had to take naps! Being given permission to nap was much like being told I could eat a whole, big bar of chocolate in one sitting! Yes, lupus has its perks; I’m always looking for a bright side, and when it comes to allowing for rest and, especially, naps, for me, there’s no question.
Turns out, too, that a growing body of research is showing that even short naps in the middle of the day can have some benefits. Naps can rejuvenate our minds, helps tense muscles relax, and allow the subconscious to work on pesky problems whose solutions elude us in the glare of a full-forward workday. Yup, naps are not just beneficial to pre-schoolers and kindergarteners!
Sometimes, we might view taking time to nap as a weakness. But whether you have a chronic illness like lupus or a highly stressful job that requires extended hours of attention, you might think about tapping into the power of napping. You might wake up to a whole new level of you!