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6 Reasons Why People Who Take A Nap Are Highly Productive

6 Reasons Why People Who Take A Nap Are Highly Productive

Have you ever looked over at someone (perhaps a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed work colleague, or a continually chipper friend) and found yourself scratching your head at their incredible ability to get things done? Chances are: that person is a napper.

It’s easy to dismiss those who put their head down from time to time as being overtired, lazy or seeking an easy escape from a task they’d ideally like to avoid; however, in reality the people who make an active effort to catch a brief forty winks (or ten winks, if you will) every day are doing the right thing when it comes to getting things done.

So why are people who take a nap so highly productive? Here’s a list of six reasons why they can get so much done.

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1. They Don’t Suffer The Pangs Of Stress As Much As You Do

More often than not, those who we consider to be the more laid-back people in life are the ones who have absolutely no reservations whatsoever about sneaking in a quick nap at any time, in any place. This isn’t a coincidence – science actually has the napper’s back.

Research has shown that those who take a daily nap for just fifteen minutes actually have half the amount of cortisol bumping around in their system than non-nappers do. Cortisol is essentially our stress hormone. The less of this stuff that’s raging around in our bodies, the much more relaxed we’re likely to feel.

2. They Have Got Better Memories

It might be tempting to assume that those who doze off for half an hour every day are missing out on life, but in later years they’re going to remember a heck of a lot more than a person who stays awake from the moment they clamber out of bed in the morning. German researchers have determined that napping for as little as 45 minutes a day can actually improve your cognitive ability and memory skills by up to five times their original amount. If that isn’t enough of an incentive to snooze on your lunch, then what is?

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3. They Are More Alert

That’s right, the serial nappers aren’t such a lazy crowd after all. In fact, they probably have way more energy and capability to complete tasks to a high standard than you do.

According the National Sleep Foundation, napping can actually increase a sense of alertness in human beings. The more alert you are, the more you get done, and the less mistakes you make. That can’t be such a bad thing, can it?

4. They Refuse To Get Burnt Out

When you find yourself barely able to move, after throwing every last ounce of energy you have at the mountainous pile of work on your desk, it’s tough looking over the other side of the office to see your colleague whistling merrily and walking with a spring in his step. They’ve been under the same kind of pressure as you, so why aren’t they feeling these effects in the same way? The answer is that you’ve burnt yourself out, and they haven’t. Your colleague has avoided turning into a shuffling zombie simply by taking a cheeky fifteen minutes every day, just resting their eyes for a little bit.

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Getting burnt out is extremely dangerous for you health, so take a leaf out of the napper’s’ playbook and lie down once in a while. You’ll soon begin to feel the beneficial effects.

5. They Are Low-Maintenance

Turns out that the term “beauty sleep” wasn’t plucked from thin air after all.

That’s right, grabbing some shut-eye during the day has actually been proven to prevent premature aging, aid cell repair, and ultimately improve your appearance overall. The protein produced during nap-time helps to mend skin, muscle, and tissue damage. This means that sneaking in a cheeky little nap will ultimate lead to you looking your best and feeling your best every single day, thus reducing time spent on maintaining your appearance.

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6. They Have Their Emotions Under Control

Hormones are a funny thing. These molecules are basically in charge of our emotional states. When they’re out of whack, boy oh boy, do we feel the effects.

Another huge benefit of napping is the way in which it helps to regulate hormones and keep them in check, allowing us to remain in a balanced emotional state. Two of our hunger hormones, named grhenlin and leptin, are susceptible to falling out of order. When they do, our first port of call is the refrigerator — as our appetites abruptly spike. Taking a nap helps to keep these pesky hormones in line, preventing us from getting distracted by our emotions, and the kind of unnecessary snacking that piles on the pounds!

Featured photo credit: WarmSleepy, Flickr via flickr.com

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Gareth Lloyd

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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