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For High Productivity, Take a Nap

Naps are better than caffeine for improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning

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A study by researchers Sara Mednick, Denise Cai, Jennifer Kanady, and Sean Drummond published in Behavioural Brain Research (2008) found that naps are better than caffeine for improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.

Many people avoid napping during the day to not interfere with a good night’s sleep. “Why should I sleep now,” they might ask, “if it’s only going to make me toss and turn in bed tonight?” Actually, naps can be helpful in recovering from sleep deprivation, refreshing your energy supply, and reducing stress. Naps can do more harm than good, however, when taken at the wrong time or for the wrong amount of time.

The “When” of Napping

So, when to nap? Health.com advises that the preferred time to experience deep sleep is between noon and 2 pm. Naps at other times of the day tend to not be as deep, and therefore will not be as refreshing.

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Alternatively, according to Dr. Jack Eddiger at Duke University, the ideal time to take a nap is between 1 pm and 3 pm to 4 pm. These guidelines particularly apply to weekdays. Dr. Eddiger further suggests setting a timer to keep your nap to 20 minutes or less. In that time frame, you can awake refreshed, and more easily resume what you were doing. Longer than 20 minutes and you run the risk of entering into deeper REM sleep. Thereafter, you might need a while to return to where you need to be mentally.

Refreshed or Groggy? – Experts at the National Sleep Foundation concur that when you nap prior to 3 pm, you’re less likely to incur difficulties falling asleep that night. The journal Sleep published a study concurring that shorter naps can be more beneficial. A 10-minute nap both diminishes sleepiness and improves cognitive performance. A 30-minute nap or longer can result in lingering grogginess.

When napping, seek a dark, cool place, in any comfortable position. Once you find the perfect nap time for you, you’ll find that your mood, productivity, attitude, and energy increase. When you start experimenting with your nap hours and your nap lengths, don’t be surprised if you can succeed outside of the recommended guidelines.

Where oh, Where

When you do nap, choose a cot or a bed, versus a chair, in a location where you won’t be disturbed. If at home, hang a sign to tell others in advance. You’ll find that the quality of your nap is higher and the benefits to you will be apparent.

Forbes reports that some high-powered executives and CEOs, whose names are well known, are advocates of taking naps. Many have elaborate napping procedures, knowing that once they awake, they’re ready to jump back into the fray to do great work.

Beware: Naps are not to be used as a substitute for getting the right amount of sleep each night. They are a supplement. It is not ideal to be taking naps to make up for sleep that you missed during the night. In fact, that misses the point altogether.

Weekend Naps

What about napping on the weekend? Generally speaking, it’s okay, and you can loosen up on the time intervals and the length of the nap. Presumably, on the weekend, you have more flexibility. Nevertheless, don’t nap too late in the afternoon or approaching the early evening, if you intend to get to bed at a reasonable hour. You can let the 4 pm guideline slip, but don’t go much past five or six.

An exception is when you have a late night activity planned. For example, when you’re heading out to a social gathering at 9 pm or 10 pm, a nap as late as 7 pm could be to your advantage. You’ll have the alertness and energy to fully participate in the event, even if it extends past midnight.

Napping later in the afternoon or in the early evening is a useful strategy when you’re going to watch a television program that you know will run long. In the U.S., most major events, including the World Series, Academy Awards, Grammys, and NBA finals are scheduled to start at 9 pm on the east coast and 6 pm on the west coast. Hence, Californians have no real issues in finishing the telecast. East coasters, who want to watch the end, can benefit from a nap of a couple hours before a telecast begins.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

New Study Shows THESE People are the Happiest

A discussion about a new study on happiness…

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PolitiCrossing Founder Chris Widener talks with Dr. Steve Turley of Turley Talks to discuss a new study about happiness. Check out their interview and be sure to pick up Chris Widener’s new book they mention, Four Seasons. The purchase of the book gets you 20+ hours of personal develop audios to celebrate the launch of the book. Get Four Seasons by clicking HERE. Check out the discussion below:

Want to influence others like Jesus did? New video series shows you exactly how. Click here for more.

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About Turley Talks:

Are we seeing the revitalization of Christian civilization?

For decades, the world has been dominated by a process known as globalization, a secularizing economic and political system that hollows out and erodes a culture’s traditions, customs, and religions, all the while conditioning populations to rely on the expertise of a tiny class of technocrats for every aspect of their social and economic lives.

Until now.

All over the world, there’s been a massive blowback against the anti-cultural processes of globalization and its secular aristocracy.

And it’s just the beginning.

I believe that the secular world is at its brink, and a new conservative age is rising.

Join me each week as we examine these worldwide trends, discover answers to today’s toughest challenges, and together learn to live in the present in light of even better things to come.

This is Turley Talks.

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Life

The Four Horsemen of Aging Baby Boomers

The prospect of being cold, broke, and alone can haunt some baby boomers in their senior years

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To be old, cold, broke, and alone are the four horsemen of aging baby boomers. Aging has been a fact of life since life itself appeared on the planet, and no one has ever doubted that they would age as time passed. It’s the combination of aging with the prospect of being cold, broke, and alone that’s terrifying for some boomers as they head into their senior years.

Out in the Cold

Miracle breakthroughs in energy production, foreseen in the 1970s and 80s, are clearly not here yet. Despite current price fluctuations, the long-term trend in heating, lighting, and relying upon energy to run one’s home can only point upward for the near future. Prices will be only climb as boomers face the ends of their careers, retirement, and years of living on a fixed income.

Going for Broke

With falling housing prices, fears of a retracted recession, and government debt rising to astronomical heights, the long-term savings of many a boomer has taken a big hit. Boomers close to retiring don’t have sufficient time to recover, and even those who are five, 10, and 15 years from retirement will face rocky roads. The prospects of going broke, or at least having to live out one’s days on far less than anticipated, are real and alarming.

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Home Alone

For several decades, one in two marriages in the U.S. has ended in divorce. This doesn’t mean that one out of two people get divorced, because first-time divorcees are unfortunately prone to being divorced again and perhaps again. In any case, the number of single adults above age 45 is at an all-time high and growing. More people heading into their “golden years” are alone than at any other time in U.S. history.

Finishing one’s life cold, broke, and alone is not a pretty picture. Yet, significant numbers of boomers face this prospect. While individually little can be done about macro-economics, the rising cost of energy, or declines in property and investment values, for aging boomers there are more potential partners today than ever before. Online dating services and a variety of local social groups all but ensure that those who don’t want to face their senior years alone, don’t have to.

Old, cold, broke and alone need not be your fate.

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