Why I Prefer Meditation Over a Nap | Yatin J. Patel

All my life, I have taken naps to fight off those deadly afternoon lulls. I have encouraged my staff to do the same in the nap room at our clinic. The studies indeed have shown that a 15 minutes nap can give alertness lasting for about 165 minutes. Lately, though, I have been meditating instead for 15 minutes in the afternoon or evening and have been pleased with the energy and alertness provided by meditation.

Why does meditation provide more restoration that a nap? Well, the research by Dr. Richard Davidson (the University of Wisconsin) has shown that meditation results in the coherence of theta and beta waves. Such coherence improves the brain functioning, just like an orchestra coming together to play a symphony. This coherence does not occur during a nap since a 15-20-minute nap can not reach the deep sleep (stage 3 or the delta sleep) even if you fall asleep.

Meditation, in addition, results in emotional and spiritual rejuvenation as you focus on the Divine and relax physically while focusing continually on your respirations.

During the meditation, you also accept your thoughts honestly and openly without passing a judgement. After this, you withdraw your attention into the Divine within. This process leads to emotional and cognitive rejuvenation, which does not happen with the nap.

Meditation improves my sleep at night, whereas a nap certainly longer than 20 minutes or alter than 3 PM can interfere with my night-time sleep.

Studies have also shown that a nap longer than 20 minute may be followed a period of grogginess, while post-meditation, there is no such danger.

But, the most important reason is this. When I tell my wife that I need an afternoon nap, I get a nod of disapproval, but when I tell her I am going to meditate for 20 minutes, I get an instant approval! In her mind, a nap is a sign of laziness (and not of wisdom), while meditation is a sign of the divine dedication.

In conclusion, if you know how to meditate, try it in the afternoon or evening. If you don’t know how to meditate, learn it and use it. You will rejuvenate your afternoons and evenings! If you can’t learn to meditate, go ahead and take a nap – doctor’s order!