Sleep More. Do More.

nap“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces,” boasted Winston Churchill of napping. He isn’t the only famous, intelligent, and successful man throughout history to accredit part of that success to allowing napping to be a part of his daily routine. Others such as Rockefeller, Lyndon B. Johnson, Napoleon Bonaparte, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, Stonewall Jackson, Ronald Reagan, Salvador Dali, and, more contemporarily, Bill Clinton, Bradley Cooper, and Twitter Co-Founder & CEO of Square (mobile payment device) Jack Dorsey. If these leaders, actors, and innovators can squeeze time into their schedules for a bit of rest and, what I like to call, mind processing of the day (current thoughts/emotions absorbing a positive experience or encounter that has already occurred that day or acknowledging tasks accomplishment) to reset, then you can.

It’s common knowledge that our society has morphed into this fast-paced, go-go-go, high pressured culture with a variety of means to access information, programs, and distractions at a fingertip’s length, but is this healthy or natural or overall productive? I would have to say no, because as a victim of using these tools as well, I know that they can sometimes defeat our to-do lists or steal bits and pieces of extra time throughout the day that can be much better spent by napping. Naps can be one of the most powerful tools for self-improvement by increasing not only your health and well-being, but intelligence and productivity.

With that said, there are numerous health benefits to incorporating naps into your schedule, such as:

-Increasing alertness and reaction times, improving mood, reducing accidents and errors

-A Harvard study shows napping can play the same role as nighttime sleep in the idea that sleep improves learning. Newly learned knowledge or skills are integrated in the brain during sleep. The study found 60-90 minute naps have the benefits similar to nighttime sleep. Combining naps with nighttime sleep produces twice the effect.

-A NASA study found 40 minute naps increased alertness by 100%.

-Sharpens memory, prevents burn out or reverses information overload

-Heightens senses and creativity–Sara C. Mednick, the foremost nap scientist, says napping can enhance sensory perception as effectively as nighttime sleep, meaning, food tastes better, colors look more vibrant or songs sound more soothing.

-Saves money (and time) on purchasing caffeinated drinks

Suggested Nap Times:

 Need a boost of creativity?

Or maybe do you need to ace a test? A 90 minute, REM nap before 2 p.m. helps. REM sleep peaks earlier in the day and declines later as the day goes.

Need stamina?

Twenty minute power naps can aid in developing more stamina, but no longer, for risk of becoming groggy.

Pulling an all-nigther?

Prophylactic naps, which are preventive naps in anticipation of sleep deprivation lasting 30 minutes, are effective in maintaining cognitive performance.

Need immediate alertness?

Take a 15-20 minute cat nap.

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