Power Naps: A Smart Idea

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Power Naps: A Smart Idea

I’m a firm believer that one day the quality of our sleep will be considered just as important as our diet, our exercise program, etc.

We do know that sleep is necessary for our brains to encode or imprint what we’ve learned from the previous day. These studies also show that, during sleep, brain levels of glycogen are replenished. Although I doubt it will be implemented any time soon, it certainly appears that the productivity of workers could be improved by having them take an hour-long nap in the afternoon. This practice always worked, and still does, in kindergarten and first-grade students.

In separate studies, researchers have discovered that the complex carbohydrate glycogen, which provides short-term energy storage for brain activity, declines with either exhausting mental tasks or from lack of adequate sleep.

In one of the studies, three groups of individuals were given identical, exhausting, one-hour visual tests four times daily. A third of the group stayed awake all day, another third took a 30-minute nap at 2 p.m., and the last third took an hour-long nap, also at 2 p.m.

As testing continued later in the day and early evening, those who were awake all day began to take over 50 percent longer to solve their problems than those who napped for an hour. Those who had the 30-minute nap performed about the same all day long. However, those who had the hour-long nap actually improved their performance as the day went on.

Maybe it’s time we all started bringing our sleeping mats to work. I would especially recommend trying this little idea if you work for yourself and have such an opportunity.

Now It's Your Turn: Do you take naps?

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