*For those who are new here, please note that you can click here and check the previous days. Also, this challenge is not a strict diet plan but a series of mini-challenges to establish healthy Mediterranean diet habits. I do include links and suggestions for recipes, if you want a menu plan you can go here for a 5-day mix and match plan. For a longer comprehensive 14-day plan along with 100 recipes you can consider my new book.
Hello everybody, it is day #7 ! I can’t believe it’s already been a week! Happy Sunday! For this Sunday the challenge is to take a nap. Yes, this challenge is not nutrition related, although indirectly it is, as we know that when we don’t sleep enough it influences our appetite and eating habits. but apart from that, it needs to be noted that the Mediterranean diet is about the lifestyle. In other words it encompasses all the habits that affect our health and wellbeing.
Naps are a common habit across the Mediterranean and it appears to be related to the longevity that was seen in this area of the world. Years ago, one would take a nap after lunch. Lunch is much later in the Mediterranean and was consumed after school or after shops closed for a break. Until 30 years ago most people worked until 2 or 3 pm and the nap was part of the daily routine. Today there are still traces of this healthy habit even in big cities in the Mediterranean. In small towns, nap-taking is alive and well and, in the summer, even more so.
During this time stores close for a few hours and re-open in the afternoon. In Greece there is even a law defining this period of quiet time, it is called Common Quiet Hours, which is between 3-5 pm varying a bit depending on the season. During these official quiet hours, you are not allowed to have loud music or make noise. Roadwork, construction or other kinds of work also stop at that time.
Health Benefits of Short Naps
Studies have shown that short naps are beneficial. They are associated with better mental health and sleep quality, especially in those over 60. In younger individuals naps appear to enhance performance and learning ability. Other studies have found a relationship between naps and heart disease; those who took naps had a lower rate of heart disease. Yet other studies have found that naps are associated with lower blood pressure.
Take a Nap or a Quiet Break
So obviously it may not be realistic to take a nap every day, but you can incorporate it on the weekends and during vacation. On weekdays though you can alternatively put some quiet time aside. Remember quiet time in kindergarten? It’s a similar concept! So, while, it is not an actual nap, it does give you the opportunity to quiet your mind, get away from the business of the day and rest.
How to Take a Nap or Quiet Break
- Head to a place where you can lie down.
- Close the curtains slightly so it’s not too bright, but it shouldn’t be completely dark either.
- Lie down and set an alarm to ring in 20-30 minutes. Turn down the sound of your phone and let anybody else in the house know that you do not want to be disturbed.
- Grab a book or a magazine (no screens) and read if you wish. It should be something that does not excite you.
- If you nod off, that’s great, if not just continue reading until you feel ready to get up or your time is up.
- Give yourself a few minutes to wake up, make a coffee or tea and continue your day refreshed.