Ever been told to 'sleep on it' when you were struggling to make a decision or come up with an idea? A new study suggests this is actually a great idea - your brain may in fact be able to process information during naps that it's not even consciously aware of. That's right, you have a great excuse to take a nap at work from now on.
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Everybody loves a good nap. There have been plenty of studies showing that naps are good for you, that a nap can improve your brain function for the rest of the day and generally leave you feeling much better. There have even been studies suggesting that our natural circadian rhythm lends itself to taking a short midday nap. We know it's good for us -- but how can you get the perfect nap to refresh your body and mind?
A quick power nap can determine the difference between staying productive or coasting through the day like a brain-dead zombie. But how much rest do you actually need to boost your energy levels? What are the best times of the day to score some quick Zs? And how does your circadian rhythm fit into it all this? This information-packed infographic from Art Of Wellbeing explains all.
Dr Janet Kennedy is a clinical psychologist and the founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, a service providing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat sleep disorders. In this video, Dr Kennedy explains how to get the most out of a nap; from the amount of time you should rest for to the best time of the day to partake.
There's nothing like the restorative power of a nap to bolster your energy, mood, and productivity, but if you want to get the most from your naps, there's plenty of room for improvement. The Guardian examines the best practices for napping, covering everything from optimal nap time (anywhere from 20 to 120 minutes, depending on what you want from it) to the right time for you to take your siesta: To determine the best time to nap, it helps to know your "chronotype". What time would you get up and go to sleep if you were entirely free to plan your day? If you're a lark, apt to wake as early as 6am and go to sleep around 9pm or 10pm, you're going to feel your nap need around 1pm or 1.30 pm.
If you're an owl, preferring to go to bed after midnight or 1am, and to wake around 8am or 9am, your afternoon "sleep gate" will open later, closer to 2.30pm or 3pm.
We've covered our fair share of napping guides in the past (I've always been partial to the caffeine nap), but it's always nice to get a refresher on the why's and how's of nature's most glorious treat, the nap. Thanks DrewB
Update: The Guardian's napping guide appears to be a mostly text version of the previously mentioned cheat sheet for power naps, but hey—it never hurts to have a refresher. Still, the original cheat sheet version comes complete with great graphics, so I'd recommend checking it out first. Photo by Daveybot. Napping: the expert's guide
The BBC takes on the topic of power naps, detailing many of the benefits and basic techniques we've touched on before—like tensing your muscles and saying "the and sticking to the 20 minute nap. One sleep expert notes one of the best ways to ease yourself into relaxation—listening to albums and mixes you've heard many times before:He suggests dusting down old and familiar CDs - new music is no good as you end up concentrating on the lyrics.
"You know old albums inside out and don't have to concentrate. They become pleasant background music."I'd have to say this holds true for work as well, as I too often find myself jumping away from my tasks with an, "Oh, which album is this from?" What music (or other sounds) get you into the power-nap state? Share your tips in the comments.
Are you getting enough?
The New York Times looks into which option is better to help sleepy drivers stay alert: a nap or a cup of joe. In a study conducted by French researches to determine which better helped drivers avoid crossing the centre line, it looks like coffee wins out, but how well it works depends on your age.For middle-aged drivers, aged 40 to 50, coffee was a far better choice. Caffeinated coffee lowered risk for these drivers by 89 percent, while the nap only reduced line crossings by 23 percent. But among younger drivers, a nap was almost as effective as caffeine. Among 20- to 25-year-old drivers, the risk of line-crossing fell by 66 percent after a nap, and 74 percent after drinking caffeinated coffee.Of course, it only stands to reason that you could improve your alertness even more with the ever-popular caffeine nap. Now that's a winner. Photo by aphasiafilms.
For Sleepy Drivers, Coffee vs. Napping