Sleep is the ultimate downtime activity! I’ve talked here and here about how your brain processes information during downtime. Last month, I discussed ways you can get a better night’s sleep. The July column is all about the power of the good, old-fashioned nap!.

new study from UC Berkley provides yet more evidence that an hour-long nap can “dramatically boost and restore brain power.”

Being the geek that I am, I love the analogy they give. They describe our brain as an email inbox, and that when we get tired the inbound emails (information) starts bouncing. It’s only when we sleep does the inbox get sorted, filed, and cleaned out, so when we wake up again we can start accepting new emails.

Here are some additional thoughts on napping:

– If you have a day-job, find out if your workplace has a napping room. Oftentimes it is also the same room that mothers use for nursing. I’ve worked in some large corporations that offer such a luxury—you just have to ask around.

– You don’t need an hour. Even 10 to 20 minutes can make a HUGE difference.

– Realize that napping is NOT a sign of weakness. In just 20 minutes you can come back refreshed, smarter, and more productive then the guy or gal in the cubicle over who decided to try to take care of the mid-afternoon lull with a bag of skittles and a cup of coffee.

– If you can’t nap, find some place quiet to just chill out for a bit. No talking work, or going on break with co-workers. Empty conference rooms, break rooms, and the great outdoors all work well. Block out your calendar and make it look as if you have left for a meeting, and you are golden.

What creative strategies do YOU use for getting your mid-day recharge? Please comment below.

Jen

Jen Waak is a Seattle-based movement coach who uses a system that combines eastern philosophy with western medicine to reprogram the nervous system and get people out of pain, moving better, and feeling younger. jen@movefitfun.com.

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