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Daytime Naps Help Us Acquire Information Not Consciously Perceived, Study Finds

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

A new study published in the Journal of Sleep Research shows that a quick nap may be just what you need for processing information and improving your responses to tasks at hand, according to the University of Bristol. Although it was a small study — just 16 participants — the research suggested that “information acquired during wakefulness may potentially be processed in some deeper, qualitative way during sleep,” the university said in a press release.

As science wakes up to the benefits of a nap, we are finding more and more that an afternoon snooze is just what you need to help restore alertness, as well as improve problem-solving skills, for both adults and children. That said, feeling a need for excessive daytime sleep may indicate that you’re not getting enough sleep at night.

Plus, if you do sleep too long during the day, all that rest may produce the exact opposite effect, and not only leave you too groggy to work, but could interfere with the sleep you need at night. An ideal nap time for adults, therefore, appears to be around 20 minutes — something that can be accomplished during a lunch hour, if you feel so inclined.

While we’re talking about sleep, another important key to having a wakeful day is to make sure you get healthy sleep at night. Get the temperature right by making sure your bedroom is below 75 F and above 54 F. Avoid watching TV or using your computer an hour or so before bed.

Also make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly, and then sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible, at night. You may want to cover your digital clock radio to keep out the glow, and cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades, or wear an eye mask.

Remember, too, that sleep is not an “option.” It’s a non-negotiable, biological necessity that provides a foundation for every aspect of your mental and physical health. So, follow your body’s signals and make sure you get good quality sleep each night — and a 20-minute shuteye during the day if you feel the need.

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