It probably is decadent but also thoroughly unlikely for most of us, among all the competing priorities, drains and places to be. It used to be more acceptable and possibly encouraged, but now it seems like a lack of ambition to want to have a nap. It is pretty much accepted in an 'always on' culture that we don't get enough sleep, especially with a busy job and family, so surely we don't have time to nap?
In Spain the midday siesta made sense to beat the heat and benefit from being awake in the cooler parts of the day, but now it's discouraged in cities for being a drain on GDP. But is a nap more than just extra sleep and can it have a bigger benefit on our physical and mental health than we realise?
The benefits of napping have been studied and one even went as far to suggest that a couple of naps a week can have a protective effect on the heart in certain situations. The benefits to overloading brains are subtle but if sleep helps the brain reset and calm down from the excitement of being awake, it makes sense for a nap to help reset it too. Studies have suggested that napping does indeed have the potential to improve alertness, creativity, cognitive processing and more.
So if a nap can stop our head from popping shouldn't we all make the time? It can be a helpful tool to have up our pyjama sleeve, but unfortunately it's not guaranteed to always work. Managing sleep patterns to get enough, but not too much sleep, seems to be the best way to not trigger migraine at least. As ever complex variables are at play, but if you are overloading and haven't had enough sleep, treat yourself and see if it helps to have a nice snooze.
Animals use their whiskers to sense the world and threats around them, without this sensory information the world is more confusing, scary and potentially dangerous. We all experience the world differently, but our reactions, thoughts, senses and emotions can differ hugely from day to day as well. A good night's sleep, that feeling of nothing getting in your way, or everything and everyone being too complicated, who knows what each day will bring? It's true that some things are more difficult to handle, but sometimes the easy things are too much and the harder challenges a breeze. If our overloaded system jams, we can either become overly sensitive or not as aware of what's happening around us.
Overload from migraine and anxiety often causes heightened sensitivity to sensory information, lights, smells and sounds, so it can help to wear headphones or sunglasses (blinkers) and avoid noisy, complex or busy people and places. Or if totally overwhelmed a simple and fun activity can help bring sensitivity and processing back to normal. Often there is no choice in a busy day to take things easy, so bilateral stimulation is a helpful technique that can rebalance mental processing and sensitivity, and quickly restore a calm and centred mind.
When our whiskers aren't working it narrows our perspective so we can miss the nice, normal sensations, sights, smells, sounds and thoughts and dwell on negative things instead. It's always good to check on our feelings and sensitivity during the day, so can be better prepared to avoid overload and be kind to our whiskers.
Hooray indeed. it’s what our parents typically told us, but it’s not much fun and can be easy to ignore. From sweet snacks to a salty lunch and a few too many drinks in the evening, the opportunity to over-do it is never far away. There are widely documented long term effects of too much salt, sugar etc. but there are also day-to-day overloading effects on the brain and body.
Our bodies are chemical engines after all, converting food into energy and our system can react according to what goes in, so we kinda are what we eat. Much of the time we are immune to the sensitivities of overindulgence, but sometimes it triggers things like migraine, anxiety, stress and makes some conditions worse.
What causes this, why it sometimes hits and sometimes doesn’t is a bit of a mystery. Overloading is more that just one thing and sometimes our metaphorical cup isn’t so full, and other times it takes just one more thing to overload.
For Meniere’s disease, change in diet is the advice given to try to avoid symptoms and ‘attacks’. It is thought that damage to a small sac behind the ear called the endolymph changes the fluid balance and this causes vertigo and discombobulation. So it is thought that maintaining a low level of salt and sugar may keep this endolymph fluid stable and limit these symptoms. It's not easy to stick to such a dull diet and it isn't guaranteed to help, but some people swear by it.
Many people with migraine are sensitive to foods too, although food triggers are still not clinically proven or understood. Swings in sugar and then insulin levels, hypoglycaemia, can bring on migraines and it is easy to attribute a migraine to consuming things like cheese, coffee, red wine, and MSG. It is more complex though and foods probably don’t always trigger Meniere’s and migraines and there are other factors at play that aren’t obvious, like combinations of weather, pressure, stress and sensory overstimulation.
Moderation is more than just food and drinks and it doesn’t always work, but maybe it can help. So as boring as moderation is there is definitely something in it. So maybe three cheers is a bit much, so here's one cheer for moderation.