Napping 101

Napping is one of the most under-utilized energy increasing tips. In fact I am coming to believe that the answer to many questions or challenges in life is the humble nap.
Feeling sluggish in the afternoon?
Nap.
Feeling grumpy?
Nap.
Stuck on a project?
Nap.
Feeling run down?
Nap.
Had an argument with your loved one?
Nap.
And the list goes on.
However, there is an art and a science to napping, and by following these few simple recommendations, you can ensure that your afternoon shut-eye leaves you feel refreshed and rested, rather than groggy and grumpy.
Keep it short
The ideal nap time is around about 20 minutes, so make sure you set a gentle alarm, and get up after 20 minutes – no matter if you’ve fallen asleep fully or not.
If you sleep much longer than the recommended dose of 20 minutes, your body starts to enter into a deeper stage of sleep, and then when you wake up you’re likely to experience “sleep inertia” – feeling groggy and potentially even more tired than when you first laid down.
Keep it early(ish)
While an after lunch nap is great, make sure you don’t nap too late in the afternoon, as it may interfere with that nights sleep. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, make sure you don’t nap later than 3pm.
Focus on ‘resting’ rather than ‘sleeping’
If you have a hard time falling asleep (i.e., when you close your eyes, your thoughts start wandering and going over your ever-growing to-do list), try guided meditation.  I have a power nap guided meditation on youtube, which includes a background music with binuaral beats.
Binaural beats work by using two different tones of different frequencies, sent simultaneously to the left and right ears (must be using headphones) – and the brain perceives a third tone based on the mathematical difference between the two frequency.  This way binaural beats can help induce states of relaxation quickly.
Cover your eyes
Using something to cover your eyes can block out light and initiate deep relaxation efficiently.  I love using these eye masks, but a spare tee-shirt or scarf works well also.
Give yourself permission
“I don’t have the time” 
“I think napping = laziness”
Napping can improve your mood, your productivity, increase your alertness, improve your memory, increase your creativity, and basically reset your whole system.  So the benefits are immense, and make you a better employee, boss, partner, friend, parent…. so let any feelings of guilt go, and overcome the stigma that napping is synomonous with “lazy”.
If you still aren’t convinced, these highly successful and influential people were (are) known nappers:
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo Di Vinci
  • Emmy Rossum
  • Winston Churchill
  • Salvador Dali
  • John F Kennedy
  • Thomas Edison
  • Charlie Rose
  • Ronal Reagan
  • Aristotle
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Bill Clinton
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Jogi Berra
Now go get yourself horizontal.  Happy napping.

Cassandra is a meditation teacher and sleep coach, who is on a mission to help people transform there relationship with sleep and spread the wonders of napping.  You can sign up here to be alerted when her online sleep program is live.

Am I broken?

I recently stumbled upon a really great article on the underlying assumption of a number of healing modalities… that we are broken and need fixing… which can keep us stuck. This article offers an exploration into the premise on which iRest Yoga Nidra stands…. that innately we are completely whole, and that we can rest into that place within us, where “nothing is broken and therefore nothing needs to be healed”. From this place, we can experience our problems and our trauma, in a completely different way.

Click here to read the article that was originally published on the Huffington Post.

Stress less.

Most of us are stressed.  This is not surprising to most of us that live in the fast-paced, consumer society of the West.  Too much to do, and not enough time, seems to be a common mantra for most of us.

We also seem to know that stress has a negative impact on our health and wellbeing…. but how many of us are actively doing something to counter the stress in our lives?

In their annual Stress in America survey, the American Psychological Association found that while this year the overall stress levels appear to be trending downward, this drop is not shared equally – women, younger Americans and parents – continue to report higher stress levels.

Most participants continue to report stress at levels higher than what they believe is healthy, struggle to achieve their health and lifestyle goals, and manage stress in ineffective ways.  One of the commonly utilized stress-management  listed was watching television (for two hours or more)…so it seems that stress management is perhaps not our strong-suit.  Forty-two percent of adults say they are not doing enough or are not sure whether they are doing enough to manage their stress.

And this is where practices, such as meditation, come in.  iRest yoga nidra, a meditative practice of relaxation and enquiry, is a powerful and effective way to counter stress accumulated and reset our over-worked nervous systems.

The practice of yoga nidra is integrative, as it heals various unresolved issues and traumas that are present in the body and mind, and is considered restorative as it enables people to recognize their inmate peace of mind that is always present admit changing circumstances of life.

iRest yoga nidra specifically teaches people to relax deeply, release stress, increase resiliency, improve interpersonal relationships, and provide greater mastery and control in their life.  People who practice regularly report a decrease in depression, fear, anxiety, insomnia, stress, and chronic pain.  What is reported in people who practicing regularly is an increase in: greater ability to relax, improved interpersonal relationships and increased inner peace.  iRest Yoga nidra helps people develop resiliency to stress, and expands their  capacity to meet the changing circumstances of life.

Whatever you do that helps nourish your sense of wellbeing and peace and helps you release stress, keep on practicing.  Your body and mind will thank you.

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If you are interested in learning iRest Yoga Nidra, email me here, or click here for more information.
Sign up for my newsletter here and receive a free Melting Stress guided meditation!
To read about Richard Miller, the developer of iRest Yoga Nidra, visit his website here.

What is iRest Yoga Nidra?

I am so grateful to get to share this beautiful practice of iRest Yoga Nidra with clients and the community.  The only problem is most people have no idea what yoga nidra is… so here is a brief explanation of what it is all about.

iRest Yoga Nidra or iRest Meditation is a transformative practice of deep relaxation and meditative enquiry.  Originating from the ancient teachings of yoga nidra, Dr Richard Miller developed the iRest practice for a secular audience and incorporated our modern understanding of neuroscience, to create a comprehensive practice – iRest Yoga Nidra.

Here is a brief video where Richard Miller gives an overview of the practice.