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Recharge Your Day with a Power Nap

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“NASA's research showed that naps really can fully restore cognitive function at the same rate as a full night's sleep. The space agency found that pilots who slept in the cockpit for 26 minutes showed alertness improvements of up to 54% and job-performance improvements by 34%, compared to pilots who didn't nap.”

In addition to charging the brain’s batteries to improve alertness, napping has also been found to be beneficial for the heart. Besides a lower risk of heart complications, napping might even help us maintain a healthy weight. Apart from keeping a healthy lifestyle, such as a low-sodium diet and regular exercise, emerging scientific evidence also shows that taking a nap can help reduce blood pressure.

In an 1889 interview with the magazine Scientific American, Edison claimed that he slept less than four hours a night so he could dedicate more of his time to his work. However, did you know that he was also a “power-napper,” who cleverly used a napping technique to recharge himself to keep his creativity going?

Recent research findings suggest that during napping, the right hemisphere of our brain, which is closely related to cognitive functions, including creativity, visualization and thinking, may become highly active to integrate information. This may explain why when people wake up after a nap, they experience a mental spark.

How long should we nap? Scientists advise that the key to a refreshing nap is to limit the snooze to 10-20 minutes. Even a siesta of just a few minutes can be helpful in relieving some stress and give you a little boost to get through the day.

Although a midday nap is health-promoting, the need for frequent naps may indicate poor nighttime sleep quality. Here are a few tips that may help you improve the restfulness of your nap and sleep at night. Limit your caffeine intake after 3 pm. Bear in mind that caffeine can circulate inside the body for up to 10 hours, so it’s a good idea to avoid this substance late in the afternoon. Setting an alarm is a good method to control for how long you take your nap. If the environment is not ideal for sleep, here are a few simple things you can do to make it more friendly for good quality sleep.
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