More light entering our lives.
Even as we gird ourselves for a brutal winter an unusual force has made our December, winter’s announcement of arrival, a dry month of stable temperatures which, even if colder than normal, were a spate of days for which we could prepare ourselves.
And December being bereft of snow means that our winter will feel much shorter.
So let’s recognize this unusually acceptable weather pattern and defer our complaints until at least the tenth day of January, no matter what befalls us tween now and then.
Friday, December 28, 2018
My 260th consecutive posting, committed to 5,000.
Time is 12.01am.
On Friday, Boston’s temperature will reach a balmy high of 51*, a major shift from the steady rain of mid-thirties that have been the hallmark of this December. Speaking of rain, a good deal of the day will be rainy, also unusual for this month.
But note, no snow predicted for the rest of the month: a short winter.
Dinner is assorted leftovers: Chinese food; goose; seafood curry.
Question of the Day:
Are naps really good for us?
As usual, most of the information on napping comes from Wikipedia.
I learned a lot but also felt validated for ideas that I had developed on my own.
And so emboldened, because it’s so important in my own life, I offer two uses of napping not included in the Wiki piece.
Like many people, I tend to work in two or three hour spurts.
Intense, focused, productive.
I normally know exactly what I want to accomplish in this moment.
And I do, always.
But when it is over, a Whoosh! takes over.
Don’t care what’s next.
R and R.
A nap does it for me.
Eye lids get heavy almost immediately.
Achieve some level of rest without ever losing awareness of my consciousness.
Fifteen minutes, the nap.
Set your clock by it.
I get up when I feel recovered from that productive spurt.
During that rest my brain seems to file away everything I accomplished.
It recalibrates my to-do list and chooses what’s most suitable for the upcoming time period, from lifting to a cafe visit to cooking or telephoning.
My brain does.
Eyes closed tightly.
When I get up, I know what my next activity is.
From the first morning’s activity, time block by block, nap by nap, I construct my day.
The second piece is pure hedonism.
A nap feels so darn fine.
So freaking good.
Love those naps.
Answer to Question:
Are naps really good for us?
A nap is a short period of sleep, typically taken during daytime hours as an adjunct to the usual nocturnal sleep period.
Naps are most often taken as a response to drowsiness during waking hours.
A nap is a form of biphasic or polyphasic sleep, where the latter terms also include longer periods of sleep in addition to one single period.
Cultural attitudes toward napping during the work day vary.
In many Western cultures, children and the elderly are expected to nap during the day and are provided with designated periods and locations in which to do so.
In these same cultures, most working adults are not expected to sleep during the day and napping on the job is widely considered unacceptable.
Other cultures (especially those in hot climates) serve their largest meals at midday, with allowance for a nap period (siesta) afterward before returning to work.
Napping is physiologically and psychologically beneficial.
Napping for 20 minutes can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity.
Napping may benefit the heart.
In a six-year study of Greek adults, researchers found that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.
For years, scientists have been investigating the benefits of napping, including the 30-minute nap as well as sleep durations of 1–2 hours.
Performance across a wide range of cognitive processes has been tested.
Studies demonstrate that naps are as good as a night of sleep for some types of memory tasks.
A NASA study led by David F. Dinges, professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, found that naps can improve certain memory functions and that long naps are more effective than short ones.
In that NASA study, volunteers spent several days living on one of 18 different sleep schedules, all in a laboratory setting.
To measure the effectiveness of the naps, tests probing memory, alertness, response time, and other cognitive skills were used.
The National Institute of Mental Health funded a team of doctors, led by Alan Hobson, Robert Stickgold, and colleagues at Harvard University for a study which showed that a midday nap reverses information overload.
Reporting in Nature Neuroscience, Sara Mednick, Stickgold and colleagues also demonstrated that, in some cases, a 1-hour nap could even boost performance to an individual's top levels. The NIMH team wrote: "The bottom line is: we should stop feeling guilty about taking that 'power nap' at work."
Cardiovascular benefits of napping, siesta or daytime sleep
The siesta habit has recently been associated with a 37% reduction in coronary mortality, possibly due to reduced cardiovascular stress mediated by daytime sleep (Naska et al., 2007).
Nevertheless, epidemiological studies on the relations between cardiovascular health and siesta have led to conflicting conclusions, possibly because of poor control of moderator variables, such as physical activity. It is possible that people who take a siesta have different physical activity habits, e.g. waking earlier and scheduling more activity during the morning.
It was recently suggested that a short nap can reduce stress and blood pressure (BP), with the main changes in BP occurring between the time of lights off and the onset of stage 1 (Zaregarizi, M. 2007 & 2012).
A power nap, also known as a Stage 2 nap, is a short slumber of 20 minutes or less which terminates before the occurrence of deep slow-wave sleep (SWS), intended to quickly revitalize the napper. The expression "power nap" was coined by Cornell University social psychologist James Maas.
The 20-minute nap increases alertness and motor skills.
Various durations may be recommended for power naps, which are very short compared to regular sleep.
The short duration prevents nappers from sleeping so long that they enter the slow wave portion of the normal sleep cycle without being able to complete the cycle.
Entering deep, slow-wave sleep and failing to complete the normal sleep cycle, can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, where one feels groggy, disoriented, and even sleepier than before beginning the nap. In order to attain optimal post-nap performance, a Stage 2 nap must be limited to the beginning of a sleep cycle, specifically sleep stages N1 and N2, typically 18–25 minutes.
Experimental confirmation of the benefits of this brief nap comes from a Flinders University study in Australia in which 5, 10, 20, or 30-minute periods of sleep were given.
The greatest immediate improvement in measures of alertness and cognitive performance came after the 10 minutes of sleep.
The 20 and 30-minute periods of sleep showed evidence of sleep inertia immediately after the naps and improvements in alertness more than 30 minutes later but not to a greater level than after the 10 minutes of sleep.
People who regularly take these short naps, or catnaps as they used to be called, may develop a good idea of the duration which works best for them, as well as which tools, environment, position, and associated factors help produce the best results.
Power naps are effective even when schedules allow a full night's sleep.
Mitsuo Hayashi and Tadao Hori have demonstrated that a nap improves mental performance, even after a full night's sleep.
Stimulant or caffeine nap
A short nap preceded by the intake of caffeine was investigated by British researchers.
In a driving simulator and a series of studies, Horne and Reyner looked at the effects of cold air, radio, a break with no nap, a nap, caffeine pill vs. placebo and a short nap preceded by caffeine on mildly sleep-deprived subjects.
The caffeine nap was by far the most effective in reducing driving "incidents" and subjective sleepiness.
Caffeine in coffee takes up to a half-hour to have an alerting effect, hence "a short (<15min) nap will not be compromised if it is taken immediately after the coffee.
Good morning on this Friday, December 27
We talked about the good weather in December, stable temperatures and dry.
We added two ideas to the nap discussion: hedonism and composure. And we had a detailed discussion on napping, including power naps and caffeine naps.
Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?
See you soon.