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The Secrets Of Highly Efficient Napping

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https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-secrets-of-highly-efficient-napping-1680906145

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The Secrets Of Highly Efficient Napping
Not all naps are created equal. Some naps have been shown to rejuvenate where others boost creativity. What's more, when you nap can be as important as how you nap. Here's how to nap like a professional, nap-taking machine. Here's how to nap like you MEAN IT.

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Basic categories of nap

  • The Preparatory Nap: This is the planned nap. The responsible nap.
  • The Habitual Nap: You make time for it regularly. It's a habit and it's scheduled.
  • The...

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When to nap

There's no such thing as a single perfect time to take a nap, but a commonly recommended window. For most people, early afternoon is best. 

We are biphasic sleepers: we pack in mo...

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Sleep inertia

It is the state of impaired cognition, grogginess, and disorientation commonly experienced on awakening from sleep.

This is why most experts suggest avoiding naps between 40 and 60 minutes in...

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The kind of nap you choose

 ... will depend on several variables:

  • How much time you have at your disposal.
  • How much time you'll need to recover from sleep inertia after your nap.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The best time to nap

The best time to nap

The most natural time to take a nap, based on our circadian rhythms, is in the afternoon sometime between 2 and 4pm. 

The ideal time to snooze is when a nap would contain a good b...

Timing is everything

The best way to nap also depends on what kind of effects you’re looking for:

  • If you’re looking for a restorative nap, you should sleep later in the day when you have an increased amount of slow wave sleep.
  • If you’re looking for a nap that might aid your creativity and problem solving, you should sleep earlier in the day when you experience more REM.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation

Willpower, memory, judgement, and attention all suffer when you are sleep deprived.

You drop things, crave junk food sugar, overeat, gain weight. You’re more irritable, negative, emotio...

Get through sleep deprivation:

  • Stabilize your blood sugar, by eating hearty food (protein and fat) more often.
  • Reduce refined carbs and increase fats and proteins.
  • B-complex vitamin supplements can give you an immediate boost in alertness and mental clarity.
  • Soak in an Epsom salt bath - might even help you get enough energy to exercise the next day.
  • Drink more water than you usually do to help compensate.
  • Exercise is the single best way to “take out the trash” in your body, and after staying up more hours than you should.

Eat Meals Earlier 

Don't eat any heavy foods within two hours of bed time. 

If you get too hungry as bedtime creeps around, there are a few foods that are okay to eat before bed, and can even h...

Do Something After You Eat

After you eat, get up and do something a bit more active—even if it's just washing dishes or taking out the trash. It'll avoid that post-meal drowsiness, and it's a great time to have a 10-minute cleaning burst to keep your house looking nice.

Avoid Napping

Napping can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night:

If, after you've thoroughly tested your evening routine and gotten better sleep, you still feel drowsy, you can try adding a power nap to your day, preferably during the early afternoon. 

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Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

You can "cheat" on sleep

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. 

The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

Turning up the radio

... opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving.

These "aids" are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. 

It's best to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. 

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How alcohol affects sleep

A lot of the symptoms associated with a hangover are a product of sleep deprivation.

Alcohol affects our ability to get into what is known as rapid eye movement (REM...

Eating before bed

It is important to leave at least a couple of hours between eating and sleeping. 

There is a whole raft of so-called sleepy foods – anything containing tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, magnesium, calcium, potassium – often eaten in the hope they will aid sleep. 

If you do want to eat these foods, do it because it’s a nice ritual, not because you need it to sleep.

A cure for sleepwalking

There isn’t a cure. 

People who sleepwalk usually are advised to keep their room safe by locking windows and doors, and to maintain what’s called good sleep hygiene: keep to a regular sleep routine, turn mobile phones off, avoid stimulants, and so on. Sleepwalking can often occur as a result of poor or disrupted sleep.

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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Breaks keep us from getting bored

The human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days.

The fix for this unfocused condition is simple—all we need is a brief interruption (aka a break) to ge...

Breaks and brain connections

Our brains have two modes:

  • focused mode, which we use when we’re doing things like learning something new, writing or working) and 
  • diffuse mode, which is our more relaxed, daydreamy mode when we’re not thinking so hard.

The mind solves its stickiest problems while daydreaming—something you may have experienced while driving or taking a shower.

Breaks help us reevaluate our goals

When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. 

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Habits define your energy levels

Habits define your energy levels

Tine is not the basis for productivity. Energy is.

Having all the time in the world won’t help you if you’re exhausted for most of it. Having good habits help in keeping yo...

Sleep is the foundation of our energy

Poor sleep means you will start to underperform.

Research says 7-8 hours are pretty much mandatory if you’re going to stay cognitively sharp in the long-run.

Napping benefits

Even if it may feel lazy, napping has a range of cognitive benefits.

This is particularly true if you’re doing a lot of learning since the short burst of sleep can help with memory.

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Describing mental fatigue

Describing mental fatigue

It is the feeling that your brain just won't function properly. People will describe it as brain fog. You can't concentrate, and simple tasks take too long. You find th...

Causes of mental fatigue

Contributing factors to mental fatigue are poor nutrition, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalances, or cognitive overload. Cognitive overload can take the following forms:

  • When you focus on a single task for an extended period of time.
  • When you spread your attention across too many things.
  • Worrying about tasks. It is as mentally taxing as doing the task.

Give your brain high-quality fuel

Your brain is fuelled with the same food as your muscles. What you eat has an enormous impact on your cognitive functioning.

  • Cut down on refined sugars as it decreases alertness. Aim for sustained energy levels throughout the day.
  • Plan your meals in advance. If you wait until you're hungry, you're already low on energy and willpower and will reach for a quick energy boost in the form of sugar.
  • Don't skip breakfast. Without it, you may likely crash in the middle of the morning. Eat more eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal to sustain your energy levels until lunch.
  • Snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon to give your body consistent fuel.
  • Stay hydrated with water. Mild hydration can negatively impact cognitive performance.
  • Listen to your body to figure out what makes you feel best. The same nutrition advice won't work for everyone.

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Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;

Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.

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