Katie and I often watch a US comedy series called Two and a Half Men on the comedy channel… It sits somewhere in between our comedy tastes and is a comedy show we can therefore watch together… One of the gags in the show centres around the main character Charlie (played by Charlie Sheen) and his liking to take an afternoon nap. It is not actually so much of a gag.

They have it right in Spain, whereby many towns close down for a couple of hours in the middle of the day when the temperatures are at their highest… I always felt good when I spent much time in the South of Spain in my younger years and making the most of having a siesta.

Let me tell you something here… Most days, around 1pm-2pm… I take myself into self-hypnosis, then let it lead into a 30 minute snooze… Heck, I am at work at 7am most days, work a lot of weekends, and er, hang on… Look what I am doing… I am feeling obliged to excuse myself for it… I am explaining myself… Instead, I am going to proudly tell you more about the real benefits of napping.

Just recently, someone pointed out to me this piece of research that confirmed that a so-called “biphasic sleep” – which is an academic way of saying sleeping twice each day. It really means sleeping at night as most of us tend to do, and then taking that siesta in the afternoon. The research findings suggest that this way of sleeping is ideal in ensuring you have a sharp brain, that is much more receptive to new learning, and feeling more refreshed.

Did you know that Albert Einstein and Napoleon Bonaparte took naps? Did you know Bill Clinton did? Even before he got very grey and elderly looking! By all accounts, our very own Winston Churchill scheduled his war cabinet meetings around his naps, something he swore by! He suggested it helped him deal with wartime in a much better fashion.

Most of my favourite athletes and sports people take naps in the afternoons as part of their training regimen, Paula Radcliffe (world record holder for the marathon) and boxer David Haye (current heavyweight world champion) both claim that napping is as important as the exercise regime and aids the physical recovery of the daily exertions. I know many others that state the same.

The afore mentioned study also highlights some fascinating other findings. Staying up all-night decreases our ability to retain new facts by almost 40 percent, that is some difference! When we are sleep deprived, certain parts of the brain shut down and we lose our retention ability. So University students may want to take notice of this… Oh the irony, eh?

The study also states that sleep is required to clear out the brain’s short-term memory, you need to de-clutter from your routine and happenings of what you have been involved in… You must have heard someone say they need to clear their head? Well having enough sleep does just that…. And by the middle of each day, your brain welcomes a good clear-out so it can absorb new information. For me, it is certainly an amazing way to ensure I clear out all the stuff that went on during my client hypnotherapy sessions and prepares me to perform well with my afternoon clients.

So I am beginning to feel less like I have to explain myself to you now… And can continue to enjoy the virtues of napping. Many people say they struggle to nap, so I tend to advise learning self-hypnosis and using it to lull oneself and instigate sleep, here are some other tips that I have been taught and found useful:

One of the keys to napping that is well documented, is that you ought to take the nap approximately 8 hours after you woke from your long slumber. Ideally too, it should not be later than 3:30 in the afternoon as it may well subsequently upset your ability to nod off properly that night.

As I tend to do, 30 minutes is an ideal period of time to set aside. Until you train yourself into this, it might initially take up to 10 minutes to drift off, and you get 20 subsequent minutes for your joyful power snooze.

Enjoy it. I mean, kick off your footwear, recline if you can… I am lucky, I have a reclining therapy chair… If you don;t have one of those, go find your bed, or a couch, dim the lights, or get an eye mask to block out too much light, and do what you can to stay warm and cosy…

I know some of you are sniggering at this notion. That thought of taking a nap in the middle of the day, especially a busy work day, might sound nonsensical or unusual to a few… I don’t care… It works for me, research shows how good it is for you and some of the most amazing people to have walked this planet did it.

Self-hypnosis induced naps is my way of working on my brain power! 🙂

Other studies suggest that a nap is much better for you that a shot of caffeine and even more sleep at night. It is not that trendy to take a nap, and I know many executives that ignore their forward-thinking companies setting up of nap chambers in the city; they still insist that it is improper whilst maintaining their caffeine fuelled, stress-inducing, vein popping, high pressure lifestyle is the way to thrive…

Ok, that’s it for this week, the sun is shining, I have a 20 mile run scheduled for tomorrow morning, dinner with friends tonight, England play Germany in the knockout stages this weekend, and all is well in the world… I’ll be back Monday…