Monday, December 5, 2011

Nap time!

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”  --Carrie P. Snow

Researchers have found that the human body requires only as much sleep as the brain will allow it.  As long as the brain is functioning at full capacity, there’s no great requirement for sleep.  The brain does need rest every now and then, but the brain can refresh with just a 20 minute power nap.  There are many benefits to sleep; a power nap can help us have less stress, increased alertness and productivity, improved memory and learning, a good heart, increased cognitive functioning, and boosts of creativity.

Here are some hints from Dr. Sara Mednick on how to take the perfect nap:
  • First consider the psychological:  Recognize that you’re not lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up so allow yourself to nap.
  • Try to nap in the morning or just after lunch; if you nap too late you’re more likely to fall into a deep sleep, which will leave you groggy.
  • Avoid consuming large quantities of caffeine and foods that are heavy in fat and sugar, which affect a person’s ability to fall asleep.
  • In the hour or two before your nap time, eat foods high in calcium and protein, these promote sleep.
  • Find a clean, quiet place where passersby and phones won’t disturb you.
  • Try to darken the room.  Darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
  • Use a blanket, body temperature drops when you fall asleep.
  • Set an alarm after you’re in a relaxed position to fall asleep.

 The perfect amount of time for a power nap is 20 minutes.  A 20 minute nap improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory. 

Napping isn’t for babies or sissies anymore!  Everyone should slip in a nap once in a while.  


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