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What Is Power Nap And How To Do It For The Biggest Brain Benefits

What Is Power Nap And How To Do It For The Biggest Brain Benefits

People often de-value sleeping or napping. But believe it or not, nearly one-third of the human race are sleep-deprived.

At this point, maybe the importance of a power nap hasn’t strung a chord with you yet. Let me throw you some mind-blowing stats.

A power nap boosts alertness greatly.

From a groundbreaking NASA study in 1995,[1] researchers experimented the beneficial effects of napping on 747 pilots.

Each participant was allowed a 40-minute nap during the day, and “sleeping on average for 25.8 minutes (which is just about right)”. The nappers “demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the No-Rest Group.”[2]

What else does a power nap bring?

Apart from improving vigilance, there are more benefits to power naps.

It boosts memory. Research[3] has shown taking an afternoon nap can improve short-term in younger adults.

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It reduces mistakes. The NASA study has proven the pilots who took naps had better job performances. This goes for people working in the medical field and emergency situations.

It improves learning. A short nap provides wakefulness to the body and boost the ability to learn.

    Famous people nap too!

    The secret to success is often taking power naps. U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, and political figures like Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher all napped back in the day.[4]

    How do you know you need to nap?

    Here are 6 major signs your body tells you to nap:

    You are constantly cranky. The sleepier you are, the more irritable you are. You are less capable to handle stress.

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    You are always hungry. A study[5] has shown sleep deprivation results in decreased level of leptin, which is a hormone that inhibits hunger and regulates energy.

    You zone out easily. Without proper rest, it’s easy to let the Zs overrule what you are working on.

    Your eyes are puffy, your skin is blemished. A poor sleep upsets hormones, and leads to unusual breakouts.

    You have a bad immune system. The sleepier the body, the weaker it is.

    You are even immune to coffee. If coffee doesn’t help, you need to seriously regain your sleep.

    So, nap or coffee?

    9 out of 10 times, you will choose coffee.

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    It is easily accessible, doesn’t take up much space, and immediately wakes you up. On the flip side, caffeine leads to a crash but napping doesn’t. Overall, napping has more advantages than coffee does, so how to nap effectively?

    Plan power naps into your daily routine.

    When you are experiencing fatigue or you know you are about to experience sleep loss, you should take a power nap to regain your energy. Mid-afternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m., is the best time to nap, because post-lunch sleepiness is about to hit you. Also, this time is least likely to affect your normal nighttime sleep schedule.

    Rest comfortably to optimize the power nap experience.

    It’s very important to find a relaxing place to nap. The best place is definitely your bedroom, but when you are not at home, a chair or a couch are also good. Make sure the place is not too cold or too warm, preferrably around 65°F or 18°C. Use earbuds and eye masks to block any sound or light that will potentially affect your sleep. Also, shut your phone and other distractions off to have the perfect nap.

    But don’t over-nap!

    Your power nap shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes.

    Have you ever woken up feeling groggy? If yes, then you have probably over-napped. After the first 30 minutes of your sleep, your body will enter the “deep sleep” mode and develop sleep inertia when you wake up.

    And take power naps carefully, it may backfire on you.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are some people who shouldn’t take power naps.

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    People who suffer with insomnia. People with temporary sleep issues should not take naps, because napping perpetuates a more fragmented sleep pattern and reduces nighttime sleeping drive.

    People with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing while sleeping, which causes the person to be constantly tired. Unfortunately, naps can’t fix that.

    Napping anywhere and everywhere is possible.

    At campuses, several schools have invested napping pods for students to nap. But if these pods aren’t available, take 20 to 30 minutes off or the gap between classes to regain energy and retain what you’ve learned.

    At workplaces, find a good quiet spot, like a meeting room or the lounging area to rest before heading back to your desk or cubicle.

    Everyone needs to sleep well.

    For more information, watch this TED talk of Arianna Huffington encouraging people (especially type-A women) to sleep well in order to achieve success.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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    Frank Yung

    Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

    Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    How to Stop Information Overload

    How to Stop Information Overload

    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

    How Serious Is Information Overload?

    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

    This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

    When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

    We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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    The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

    Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

    But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

    Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

    Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

    When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

    How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

    1. Set Your Goals

    If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

    2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

    If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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    • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
    • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
    • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

    If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

    (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

    And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

    Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

    3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

    Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

    Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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    4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

    The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

    Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    Summing It Up

    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

    I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

    I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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