The Shabbat Nap Its Good Medicine
By Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N
For some, the weekly tradition of taking a long, restful snooze on Shabbat is
absolutely non-negotiable; they wouldnt miss it for the world. After a brisk
morning trip to the synagogue, followed by a hearty meal shared with loved ones
and friends, an hour or so of shut-eye seems like an ideal way to spend an
afternoon. But the benefits go well beyond the obvious. There are medical
studies that say that napping is an extremely healthy thing to do.
According to experts at the Boston Universitys Center for Psychological
Rehabilitation, a brief, midday nap is a great remedy for a lousy nights sleep.
Most Americans are sleep deprived. Some may do fine on as few as 5 hours of
sleep, but the average adult functions best with 7-8 hours a night. If you have
missed several of these precious hours, your body will want to be repaid. A
nap does just that. Those extra moments of sleep can increase productivity,
sharpen the senses, and lift the spirit.
A nap can also be used for more than just regaining lost sleep. It can help
you prepare for a long night ahead. According to studies conducted at the Henry
Ford Hospitals Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit, a two-hour or
four-hour nap taken prior to being up all night, helped individuals stay alert
the following day.
And the benefits dont end there. The traditional Shabbos shluf can help
reduce your risk of becoming obese. Research published in the Archives of
Internal Medicine recently funny pictures linked obesity to a lack of sleep. According to the
study, the less people slept, the heavier they tended to be. In addition to
following a healthy diet and participating in a regular physical activity,
getting adequate sleep should be an important part of any weight-loss program.
Obese individuals also frequently developed problems that made it even more
difficult to sleep, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and indigestion.
But a nap is not for everyone. If you have insomnia or suffer from depression
taking a nap can worsen your symptoms. A nap should also not be taken too close
to bedtime or last longer than 90 minutes. Doing this, may throw off your bodys
You may have always considered your weekly rest time a luxury; now you dont
have to. Next Shabbat, as you excuse yourself from the table to tiptoe off to
bed, know that you are getting a dose of some of the best medicine you can take.
Chalomot Paz! (Sweet dreams!)