Grandmas & Pre-K Teachers Were Onto Something All Along!:
I guess as long was we all recognize Gary Vaynerchuk as the Fifth Horseman Of The Apocalypse, we’re all going to get along great here.
Because as any non-Elon tech bro can tell you, it is possible to push yourself too hard and burnout is a real thing.
On the other side of the world, they seem to have a bit less caffeine and some older, odder daily traditions called Siesta.
Maybe it was just socialism or recovery from the hottest part of the day in southern Europe. Like a thirst-quencher Sangria for mind & body.
But it was lost on the “Coffee-Achieving” West, until just recently.
And a team from London and Uruguay is finding out there’s a lot more to naps than anyone outside Portugal, Italy, Greece, or Spain might imagine…
The Short Answer:
- The idea of a daily nap seems reserved for the elderly, small children and maybe people who live in hot climates.
- SCIENCE! is finding out it’s actually a great idea for everyone.
- This is especially true for the US, which is the hardest-working country except for Japan.
- Researchers from Uruguay and UC-London looked at data on ~380,000 UK residents, across 97 genetic markers.
- They also examined data from about 35,000 MRI scans.
- People who usually take naps each day had brains that were younger than their biological age.
- The difference amounted to an increased-volume of about 16ccs.
- Since our brains shrink with age, the nappers brains were anywhere from 2.5-6.5 years younger than non-nappers.
- However, their Hippocampus memory-center volumes were no different.
- Cognitive tests also showed no difference in reaction-time or visual processing speed.
- Other research shows the ideal duration for a nap is as little as 5 minutes and as much as 60 minutes.
- That work shows workers can regain 9AM productivity in the afternoon following a nap.
- Their productivity also stays high across the week instead of falling.
- These people easily outperform coffee-drinkers who don’t take naps.
- Different systems in our bodies make early afternoon the best time to take a nap.
- Taking regular naps also result in at least a dozen health-improvements.
Read on to find out the details…
→ Show/Hide Table Of Contents ←
The United States is the hardest-working country in the world besides Japan, in terms of hours-worked.
To that end, many of us not only run ourselves ragged, live on “protein” bars, and fail to take good care of our bodies.
We also basically live off more coffee than Stieg Larsson references in a “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” book.
You could make a solid case for the fact that it’s sleep-deprivation and the black stuff running chiefly through the veins of the economy.
Not information, not even Money.
Because of that, SCIENCE! is finding out what we all could use is a good nap.
In an analysis on data from about 380,000 UK residents,
Researchers are finding out that naps aren’t something you should stop taking in nursery-school.
This doesn’t even cover all the benefits Dr. Sara Mednick and other teams found.
Some subjects in the group had a very interesting quirk in the 97 different genes that were tested.
They had a predisposition to take daytime naps.
Because of that, their brains were in better shape than other subjects.
This resulted in larger brain-volumes equivalent to being anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 years younger in terms of brain-aging.
Yes. Unfortunately, one of the things that happens as we age is that our brains shrink.
And it’s looking an awful lot like keeping them young in terms of total volume is one of the new benefits of the almighty Siesta.
There are some minor qualifications that shouldn’t dissuade anyone from naps, however.
Although the 5% of the group reported taking regular naps for one reason or another,
They were the ones with the greater volume of almost 16 cubic centimeters more than non-nappers.
But strangely in MRI scans and cognitive tests on about 35,000 subjects, there was no difference in size of the hippocampus memory-center.
There was also no difference in reaction time or visual processing speed.
Not that those should be an excuse to neglect your brain health.
Because even short naps can help.
Although the ideal duration of a short nap should be about 30 minutes according to Dr. Sara Mednick,
You might be able to get away with power-nap lengths of 15 or 20 minutes.
There may even be some benefit to a short 5-minute nap.
Between our homeostatic and circadian systems, paired with the fact that cortisol cycles and bathroom breaks wake many of us up at 3AM,
There’s a good chance that the Spanish have it right in scientific terms.
A siesta at about 2-3PM in the afternoon is a perfect time to catch up on some missed sleep due to weird cycles.
This is because while the Homeostatic urge for wakefulness starts first thing in the morning,
The Circadian system only kicks-in in late-afternoon, just after everyone has their 3PM “food coma” after lunch.
If you thought that was great, hang on because there’s more!
Because for people of all ages, even over the age of 60, naps improve at least the following things and more:
8) Cardio Health
9) Mental Health
Furthermore, Dr. Sara Mednick’s work also found that a nap in the middle of the day is better for Productivity.
So much so that one 60-minute nap in the middle of the day is like getting an extra night of sleep.
Nappers outperformed coffee-drinkers in every cognitive-test that was thrown at them.
People who napped every day also returned to 9AM productivity right after the nap.
They also fought-off another insidious problem of Work-Week Dropoff.
That’s where everyone is super-productive on Monday, but slowly drift lower and lower to their worst productivity on Fridays.
People who napped kept their productivity up near Monday-levels all week.
That finding is consistent with prior research that naps improve mental-agility in all age-ranges.
So maybe if we assume that if someone performs better they’re in better shape.
Just the way people are more recently saying, “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.”
Well then, maybe it’s not a surprise that if all these studies show that naps are magic for brain-performance,
That when a bunch of researchers armed with MRI machines go out and scan some habitual-nappers,
The physical structure of their brains looks like it’s in better condition, too!
So it may look a little bit unseemly & counter-productive to an unenlightened, caffeine-freebasing Vaynerchuk.
But taking a nap in the middle of the day actually makes you not just healthier and younger, but better at your job, too!