Europeans love their afternoon siesta. I dream of it as a luxury especially when I was a working mum with little kids. Whenever I recommend it to my clients they often protest, not wanting to go lie down for fear of falling asleep and then being awake in the dark at night.
Who would benefit from a mid-afternoon lie down?
- Someone who has swelling in the feet
- Someone who has nocturnal diuresis (that is getting up to empty the bladder frequently at night)
- Someone who complains of a sore back
When you lie down the fluid in your feet will be more easily pump back to the heart as it does not have to work against gravity. So the swelling in the feet decreases. To help reduce the swelling in your feet it is best to put your feet up on a few pillows to really elevate them when lying down.
This will help with nocturnal diuresis because when the fluid from the feet returns to the system during the day you will have emptied some of the fluid from the bladder so there is less the bladder to do at night.
When you lie down it gives the spine a chance to unload the stress that it has been bearing and for the vertebrae to realign itself. The muscles in your back has a chance to relax.
You can view the afternoon siesta not as sleep time but as therapy time. While lying in bed you can do your ankle pumping exercise to help with decreasing the fluid retention in your feet. And before you get up from the bed you could do a few core muscle strength exercises which helps your back.
An afternoon siesta can help you go longer into the evening without feeling like you are about to drop straight after your dinner. If you need any help to do some of these exercises or need further explanation of the benefits of an afternoon lie down please ask your physiotherapist.
Written by our wonderful Senior Physiotherapist, Yoke.