Unit 1 Taking Charge of Your Health and Wellness Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. 86 Naps have other benefits as well. People who take even a short nap—for 20 to 30 minutes—feel more alert, find it easier to learn new skills, and are better able to use their memory. They are also more creative. If you choose to take naps during the day, remember the strategies in Figure 3.18. Exercise Regularly Have you noticed that you feel more tired on nights when you have sports practice or spend time outside with your friends? This is because your body uses up energy during physical activity, and it has to rest to get that energy back. Engaging in physical activity has many benefits, such as helping you get an adequate amount of sleep. Generally, young people should try to get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Exercising for as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day, however, can help people get to sleep—and stay asleep. Find ways to add at least this much exercise to your day in whichever way feels best for you. You can exercise in a variety of ways, as you will learn in Chapter 7. Remember that you do not need to do the 20 to 30 minutes of exercise all at once. Sometimes it can be easier to find smaller periods of time for exercise. Fortunately, exercising for five to ten minutes several times during the day will still help you get to sleep at night. Try to schedule your exercise so that you finish at least three hours before you plan to go to sleep. Too much activity in the evening can make it difficult to fall asleep. It is best to exercise in the morning or afternoon if you can. Avoid Substances That Interfere with Sleep You may have seen your dad make a cup of tea before bedtime. If you asked him what kind of tea he was making, he would likely say that it was herbal tea with no caffeine. Caffeine is a substance that produces a temporary increase in activity in the body, making it difficult to sleep. Napping Strategies Napping Strategies • Set an alarm. Naps that are longer than 30 minutes can prevent you from getting adequate sleep at night. Short naps are best because they refresh you during the day while allowing you to get a full night’s sleep. • Nap in the early afternoon. Your body’s biological clock tells your body it is time to rest in the early afternoon. Listening to your biological clock can help you get the most out of naps. • Do not nap after dinner. This can disrupt your regular sleep schedule. If you are drowsy after dinner, do something active to avoid falling asleep. Arcady/Shutterstock.com Figure 3.18 If you use the napping strategies listed at the right, you can get a small amount of extra sleep without disrupting your regular sleep-wake cycle.