Caregiving for an older loved one is hard. It can often be a thankless job. Even on the best of days, it’s normal to be exhausted. A lot of people, especially adults that are fulfilling the role of caregiver deal with this type of chronic tiredness, but there’s now a little bit of hope for those of us that are dealing with this. A new study showed that taking a daytime nap once or twice each week is good for your heart.
The study, which was conducted by CoLaus in Switzerland, found that one or two naps during the day each week was associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. There was no indication that more naps were effective, or that the duration of the nap played a role in improving heart health. The study also accounted for nighttime sleeping patterns. A healthy adult under the age of 65 that was already receiving six or more hours of sleep on a regular basis still benefited from a nap here and there.
This was just an observational study, so the researchers did not establish any cause for why a nap was helpful. However, the correlation was strong enough that the topic is going to be given more attention in future studies. After all, if resting is something that can help us to do our work more effectively, then it deserves more study.
Caregivers spend a lot of time attending to the needs of others, and this can sometimes happen at the cost of one’s own health. This is why caregiver burnout is so common in the U.S. We are so focused on helping the people that we love that we sometimes don’t address our own needs. The end result is that we’re too stressed and tired to provide the high level of care that our family’s deserve. Not only do we suffer, but they do, too. Better rest might prevent this.
This is one reason why we believe so firmly in in-home care. It allows you to stay highly involved in the care of your loved ones and it gives you a break from the constant stress of being the sole provider. It allows you to do the other things in your life that are important, like work, take care of other needs, and even take a break once in a while. When you’re too tired to give good care, no one wins.
Studies like this one are enheartening because they show that rest is good once in a while. It allows us to take a step back from the craziness that our lives can become, recharge, and then come back to it with a renewed strength, energy, and focus.
So, if you’re looking forward to that nap later today when you have a few minutes to rest, don’t feel guilty! A nap here and there is only going to help you to do the important things in your life even better. Your family will get the best from you and you’ll stay healthier.