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Sunday, February 27, 2011

6 Good Things a Little Snooze Can Do

6 Good Things a Little Snooze Can Do

Your office may not have a literal "rest" room yet, but your employer might be smart to create one. Some companies already have, including Nike and Google. Why? Studies show that a quick afternoon power nap can:

  • Boost productivity
  • Counter burnout
  • Improve memory
  • Take the edge off of stress
  • Lower risk of heart disease

There's even an app for the power nap. In fact, there are four of them, from free ones with soothing ambient noise to more sophisticated programs that (for a small fee) provide different sound frequencies to lull you to sleep and gently wake you at a preset time.

Here are three ways to get the best from your siesta:

  • Limit naps to 30 minutes. Give yourself 10 to fall asleep and 20, at most, for napping. The benefits of a 5- to 20-minute nap are almost immediate and last up to 3 hours. Going into a deeper, longer sleep causessleep inertia. That's a doc's way of saying you'll have a hard time waking up, and everything you do for the next hour or so will feel like a big effort.
  • Get comfy. Slip off your shoes, loosen your belt or your tie, and, if you can, recline. The more comfortable you are, the faster you'll slip into sleep. If the best rest you can manage is to snooze in your car, tilt the seat back and go for it -- as long as you're parked in a safe place.
  • Don't nap too late in the day. Earlier naps are less deep and more beneficial, according to a recent study. They make you more alert, improve your performance, and speed up your reaction time. What boss wouldn't approve of that? The one exception to this rule: Nap later if you're planning to dance all night, say, at your BFF's wedding.

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