Power Naps, The Pause That Super-Charges You:
If there’s one common-thread we can all agree on, it’s that some things in childhood we hated we end up loving as adults!
Salads, Haircuts, Being Seen With Our Parents, Bathtime, Vegetables, etc.
One of the other childhood compulsories we all loathed that might have been there at home, but was definitely present in nursery school was: Naptime!
Although we might have all dreaded rolling out our silly rugs and staying put in the afternoon for our poor overworked teachers,
More and more scientific reports are finding out they were really onto something…
The Short Answer:
- We all hated some things as kids.
- One of them was likely naptime.
- Science & productivity experts are adding to the emphasis on the importance of sleep.
- Social Jetlag and Early-Bird Bias are real things.
- Dr. Sara Mednick did a huge talk on the power of naps.
- She found they made both your day & your week better.
- A recent study of 2200 people in big city China found great results, too.
- People who took naps between 1 and 7 times per week fared better.
- These naps could be between 5 minutes and 2 hours long.
- A battery of 30 tests called the MMSE proves the results.
- The nappers scored better in working-memory, verbal fluency and location awareness.
- The results are particularly-significant because all the subjects were over 60 years old.
- It is possible their increased susceptibility to change may serve as a good indicator for all of us.
- BONUS: There is actually a correct length of nap time to get.
- There is also one duration in between two extremes that rarely works, and results in sleep-inertia.
Read on to find out the details…
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Sleep Might Be More Important Than Food:
So as we’ve posted here before, Sleep is a hugely-important input of life.
Tony Schwartz even went so far as to publish a piece on the Harvard Business Review saying that Sleep was even more important than Food!
And as anyone whose had some dislocation in their schedule due to work or some other interruption knows,
The evils of “Social Jetlag” or Sleep Inertia can really throw a monkey wrench into your day and maybe even your week.
Serious Neuroscientists Tackle Something So Obvious:
But it gets even more serious than that!
Because several types of scientists from nursery school teachers, to productivity experts, right on up to world-class neuroscientists,
Are studying the purpose and benefits of sleep; and Naps!
One of them is Research Queen Dr. Sara Mednick who gave a great talk on all the different ways that your productivity dives across the day and the week,
And how Naps can actually rescue it.
Well, another team of researchers has followed in Sara’s illustrious footsteps.
Even Big City China Could Use A Good Nap:
So in a study of about 2,200 people living in large cities all around China,
Researchers at the Shanghai Mental Health Center tested the abilities of people who took regular naps.
Out of that group, more than 1500 took naps of between 5 minutes and 2 hours in the afternoon and almost 700 did not.
These subjects differed in their napping from once a week to once a day, but the average of sleep they got was about 6.5 hours a night.
All of the participants then took a series of health tests to establish a baseline,
And were given a standard battery of cognitive tests called the MMSE.
2200 Subjects Put Through 30 Tests For Mental-Agility:
The MMSE is a test for Dementia that examines measures of verbal, spatial, attention, problem-solving, working-memory and location awareness.
It’s pretty thorough, as it has 30 different testing components.
And if you’ve been here before, or been friends with any cats, you might already suspect the results.
The nappers scored significantly-better than the non-nappers.
More-specifically, they had the greatest improvement in Working Memory, Verbal Fluency, and Location Awareness.
One More Thing. This Wasn’t A Bunch Of Twentysomethings:
What’s even more impressive, is that this group of people wasn’t the type you’d expect to bounce back so easily.
All of them were at least 60 years old, or more!
So because of their potential to be more easily taken-down from a disruption,
They are a great litmus-test for the efficacy of afternoon naps; even for the rest of us.
And if you’re more interested in them, you can check out the sleep category,
Or go over and read the mega-post on Naps from Dr. Sara’s talk.
Hint: There is a set of perfect minimum-maximum amounts of time for you to nap.
So check out that category and listen to people like Tony Schwartz instead of crazy Elon Musk who wants you to work 100 hour weeks.
Because we have yet another study now to show how healthy both for you and your productivity the good olde-fashioned nursery-school naptime really is!
References & Links:
Source Study: BMJ, GPsych – Relationship between afternoon napping and cognitive function in the ageing Chinese population
More Coverage: Reddit – Things you hated as a kid but love as an adult
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