When a nap is a warning

There's nothing quite like a midday siesta to recharge the batteries.

I won't lie; on the rare days I have an opening in my afternoon schedule and all the paperwork is done, I'll kick back in my office chair for a quick power nap.

Napping isn't lazy. Studies show a quick snooze can boost your brainpower, lift your mood, and improve your performance.

But it is possible to get too much of this good thing.

If it turns out your afternoon doze is turning into lengthy journeys through the land of Nod, your body could be trying to tell you something -- because the latest research finds that naps of an hour or more will increase your risk of diabetes by 45 percent.

The study doesn't show a reason for the link, only that it's there.

But it's pretty obvious to me, and I don't think it's the naps themselves that are the culprit here... so much as what they mean.

Long naps tell me that your energy levels are plunging to well below where they should be, and that's almost always a sign of something gone wrong inside your body.

In this case, that "something" could be your body wearing out from fighting off the early warning signs of diabetes. You might even already have the disease without actually knowing it yet, as many cases remain undiagnosed for years.

This invisible battle is leaving you drained -- so if you're sleeping too much in the afternoon, don't assume you're catching up on rest.

Consider it your wakeup call instead!

The study finds anything longer than an hour is a sign of disease risk, but there's a much easier way to tell if your naps are doing more harm than good without checking the clock.

It's in how you feel when you wake up.

If you're feeling rested and ready for the rest of your day, odds are you just had a perfect little catnap.

On the other hand, if you wake up feeling groggy and miserable instead of sharp and refreshed, your body likely entered slow-wave sleep, or the deep sleep we usually fall into at night -- but it didn't have a chance to complete a full cycle.

That's generally a sign your internal fuel tank is starting to empty, possibly because your immune system is malfunctioning... hormone levels are plunging... and/or insulin levels are bouncing around, as your body battles the early warning signs of diabetes.

The answer isn't getting more sleep.

It's finding out what's wrong... before it's too late.

A holistic doctor can run some tests to help get to the bottom of it, then help you get started on a plan to beat diabetes before it starts.

If you're in Southern California, I can run those tests right here at the Stengler Center.

Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.