Sunday, December 10, 2006


“You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half.” – Winston Churchill

Naps are still taking a long slow turn out of the realm of perceived laziness. What Churchill had discovered, however, is that napping gives a person far more high-energy alertness than the time the nap takes out of the day. And it can do much more than that.

Sleep experts propose that napping should have the status of daily exercise. Studies show that most people are chronically sleep-deprived. These sleepy workers make more mistakes, cause more accidents, and are more susceptible to heart attacks and digestive troubles. NASA’s studies show that 24-minute naps significantly improve the alertness and performance of their pilots.

A reviving-type nap should last no more than 30 minutes. After that amount of time, the body will lapse into a deeper sleep which is difficult to wake from, and may change the body’s clock. A 20 minute nap taken about eight hours after waking from the night’s sleep is shown to be far more helpful than adding that 20 minutes to the long sleep.

The ideal time for a nap is after lunch – if lunch occurs midday. Naps taken later in the afternoon will tend to disturb the sleep cycle. If you are going through a particularly stressful time, recovering from illness or injury, or are under treatment for cancer, naps can be highly beneficial even when you get adequate sleep at night.

Brain Booster: A short afternoon nap, with a cup of black or green tea to ease into wakefulness. Enjoy a productive, fulfilling evening with your brain cells firing, smooth and ready.

Winter’s best to you,

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