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Hit the Snooze Button: Why Taking a Nap is Not Always Being Lazy

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by Brad Lamm, CIP

Often overlooked and trivialized, sleep is an essential ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. One can not perform to their maximum level without getting a sufficient amount of rest. Finding time to sleep when you don’t have any time at all may make the idea of sleeping seem impossible. Fortunately there are ways of working sleep around your busy schedule.

According to a Swedish study, “depriving healthy young men of a night’s sleep increased blood concentrations of brain molecules to levels seen in brain damage.”  The words brain damage we associate more with car wrecks and massive strokes. To think that you can receive brain damage from simply depriving yourself of sleep shows how important it is not to neglect it.

Now most people aren’t all or nothing. We tend to get some form of sleep. The question becomes is the amount of sleep we’re getting enough to maximize our potential? According to the New York Times “Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life.”

A person’s “heart, lungs and kidneys: appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function” can be negatively affected from not getting a proper amount of sleep.  “Poor sleep is also a risk factor for depression and substance abuse.”

According to the Huffington Post, “Studies show getting more sleep can lower risk for a handful of health problems, from high blood pressure to obesity and diabetes.”

Almost everyone would love to get sleep. The question becomes who has the time? For those who work around the clock and literally don’t have enough hours in a day to get the proper amount of sleep and pay their bills, what can they do? Master the art of napping.

According to medical news today, “Researchers in the US found that napping boosts brain power by clearing out the brain’s temporary storage space so it can absorb new information.”

So does this mean if you get off work early, just go to sleep for three hours? No not quite. The art of napping works best when sticking to particular time frames. “Researchers found that an hour’s nap can dramatically boost and restore brain power: it not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarter.”

For those who don’t have an hour in their busy day, the Huffington post writes, “The ideal length for a power nap (for most people) is just 10 to 20 minutes. That’s less time than your average coffee break. Deeper stages of sleep kick in during longer naps, which can lead to grogginess and interfere with nighttime sleep.” So having too much time to nap will work against you. It’s better to have less time. Work it into your lunch break, get a nap, refresh and maximize your production.

Obviously the best thing you can do is get a full nights sleep. Unfortunately we all don’t have the the luxury of time needed to do so. A short nap is an officiant and healthy way to maximize your day’s performance and feel great. You don’t need a bed, take ten minutes at your desk or in your car. If all this isn’t sinking in,  I suggest you take the time to  “sleep on it.”

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