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6 Reasons Why People Who Take A Nap Are Highly Productive

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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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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