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Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty about Taking a Nap Every Day

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty about Taking a Nap Every Day

Waking up early and going to bed late can start to take a toll both physically and mentally after a while. We wake up, get ready for our day, go the whole day without taking a rest, and then stay up late, creating a routine cycle that can often leave us exhausted, depleted of energy, and more stressed than we need to be. All of that can be prevented by taking a nap every day. There are even some famous snoozers who reap the benefits of daily naps, including former President Bill Clinton, inventor Thomas Edison, singer/actress Jennifer Lopez, actor Matthew McConaughey, singer Lady Gaga, and actress Cameron Diaz. Here’s why:

Energy

One of the overwhelmingly obvious benefits of taking a daily nap is an increase in your energy afterwards. When you go through half of your day, your energy tends to dip, depending on how much work you’re doing (both physically and mentally), what you consume, and how much sleep you get the night before, among other things. By taking a 30-minute nap, your energy levels get a chance to rest and recharge, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.

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Memory boost

Studies have shown that taking a nap of 20 minutes helps to clear your brain of built-up information, increasing the brain’s ability to remember long-term information. So, if you’re looking to improve your ability to remember people’s names at your new job, it might be a good idea to turn your computer monitor off and take a mini-nap to increase your chances.

It’s also been said that taking naps increase your alertness throughout the day. On a day without a nap, you may find yourself trying to fight off sleep. On a day with a nap, you’ll find yourself becoming more alert to what you’re focusing on, giving you a better chance to be productive.

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Taking a break

One thing that doesn’t happen too often is taking a break. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish after you’ve decided to regroup and catch your breath for a minute or two (or five), as a quick mini nap:

  • Helps cure writer’s block
  • Takes your mind off of what you’re working on
  • Gives you a chance to get up and stretch
  • Gives you an opportunity to take a nap

That’s right: when you take a break from what you’re doing, you can nap and reset your mind. This gives you a chance to seize the day.

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Refocusing

Taking a nap will let your mind refocus itself and give you a clear thought process for the rest of your day. This can be beneficial in many different ways: more productivity, more brainpower, less burnout, etc.

As you’re going through your workday, it might be a good idea to use part of your lunch break to sleep in your car (unless your job allows you to sleep in your office). Heck, it might even be a good idea to ask your boss if you can take short naps when you’re at work. Either way, find the time to get it done. You’ll be able to reap the benefits.

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Less stress

When our bodies shut down to sleep, they work on replenishing energy, relieving stress, and healing both body and mind. If you were to take a daily nap, even on the days that you don’t have work, you can begin to see your stress levels reduce significantly.

Because of this, we are ready to take on the day without dragging our feet the last half of the afternoon. So sit back, kick your feet up, and take a little snooze—your body and brain will thank you.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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