‘The many benefits nanny naps can have on older adults’

Nov 19, 2019
Nanny naps have a number of benefits for over-60s. Source: Stock Photo/Getty Images

What is so good about a nanny nap? Basically, it is short sleep after about 1 pm in the afternoon. It is good for us older citizens. We can refresh our batteries, slow down for a while. We can sit or lie down under a rug or blanket, concentrate on breathing deeply and switch off our neurons, drifting away into a land of sleep.

Pushing up zeds after lunch can be good for any age group. Younger people might call it a power nap. Research has demonstrated that a short sleep in the early afternoon can increase workplace performance levels for the remainder of the day.

Certain parts of the world thrive on a daily nap. It is known as the ‘siesta’.

Recently, I had a siesta. I lay on my bed for half an hour, drifted off to sleep, then awoke to proceed with the daily routine. I am a caregiver for a geriatric, and caregivers must take care of themselves.

I mentioned this practice of a nanny nap, or siesta, to my online groceries delivery driver. He migrated from Greece. He arrives home from his shift, to lie down on his couch to have a siesta. He was telling me that, in Greece in summer, everything, even shopping, closes down after lunch for an hour. This is so everyone can have a siesta.

A power nap, or siesta in the afternoon, at our age, can be regarded as the guilt-free nanny nap of the aged. Further medical research has shown that a nanny nap can reduce stress-related health conditions, especially cardiovascular disorders.

But we must try not to sleep for too long in our nanny naps. Sleeping longer than 15-20 minutes in the afternoon can induce a deeper state of the sleep process in the brain. Then we can awaken feeling like limp dishrags. Has this ever happened to you? Sometimes I wake up with my ‘inner whinese’, a lovely woman, not! I gaze in the mirror for an instant. My grey hair matches my eyes, and my wrinkles are creased from my pillow. Never mind. Wrinkles at our age are a badge of honour. We are either grey, or men are bald. Yeah, we are old and grey! We made it! No need to catastrophise.

But sleeping too long in the afternoon can interfere with a good night’s sleeping pattern. Nanny naps are still good. It is a great way to wind down in the afternoon, to relax, to soothe our older bodies.

We can achieve our appointments and activities, then switch off for up to half an hour. Yawn. Soon I shall be pushing up zeds again. After that, a nice hot cup of tea, get on with the day. Yawn. Nanny naps for you and she, guilt free. Zzz!

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