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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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