The Powerful Value of Naps

Exhausted woman Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Most Americans are not.  In fact, 40% of the US population is sleep-deprived.  According to the World Health Organization, less than 7 hours a night is considered a carcinogen, cancer-causing agent.

 

If you get less than 7 hours, you are:

•3 times more likely to catch the cold or flu
• likely to carry an extra 20 pounds of weight
• 4 times more likely to have a stroke over age 45.

What’s the solution?  For many people and more and more companies- naps!

I love naps.  I hated them when I was a kid, but today, I find them rejuvenating and energizing.  Naps work!  And there is a great deal of research to support it.

Naps of half an hour or less don’t interfere with sleep patterns, and  can restore clarity, alertness, and memory.  Albert Einstein was a big fan of naps. Zappos.com has a nap room and employees are encouraged to use it regularly.  More and more corporations are providing nap rooms.  Many railroads have them, and even Ben and Jerry’s believes in naps.

An exhausted employee is an ineffective and possibly dangerous employee. Both Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were related to sleep deprivation.

Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, says a 20 minute power nap is very light and easy to wake from, and good for your motor memory.   A nap of 20 – 60 minutes is slow wave sleep, which is restorative.  It promotes muscle and tissue growth, as well as memory  performance.

“Sleepiness alone costs the American economy and employers about 18 billion dollars a year,” says Darrel Drobnich of the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, DC.  So why not address that proactively and provide a nap space at work?

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Top Five Stress management Tips

Stress express book coverMost of you know I have just written a new book Stress Express! 15 Instant Stress Relievers!(http://www.stressexpressbook.com) After researching burnout for over a decade, partly due to having experienced a great deal of stress personally, I have found several stress management techniques that really make a difference in terms of decreasing anxiety, preventing burnout and helping you feel better fast.

Here are my top 5 stress management tips! Let me know which works best for you!

Sleep!The World Health Organization is considering labeling less than 7 hours of sleep a carcinogen- a cancer-causing agent! That’s how dangerous it is! If you get less than 7 hours, you are at a cognitive disadvantage, and are prone to weight gain and sugar issues. 40% of Americans get less than 7 hours a night- are you one of them? Try going to bed earlier- no phones, no TV, just a quiet dark room and settle in 1 hour before you want to sleep so your mind can quiet down.
DO NOT check your email before bed!

Laugh! Little children laugh 400-500 times a day; most adults laugh 7-10 times. One study showed that one big belly laugh is equal to 45 minutes of stress relief. Laughter also extends your life by improving your immune system, lowering your blood pressure and improving your brain function. We could all up our laughter quotient. Try listening to comedy channels on satellite radio, watching the comedy channel, or asking friends if anything funny has happened to them recently. Play comedy CD’s in the car when driving in rush hour traffic and watch your tension melt away.

Optimism Did you know that optimists live 7 years longer than pessimists,have better lung function and are far less likely to die young or die from cancer? Several studies from NIH and Yale demonstrate this. Pessimists are 25% more likely to develop heart disease. And since optimism is 75% learned, you can shift if you have been a negative thinker up until now.

Creative Expression! No matter how you like to express your creativity, from dancing, painting, singing, playing an instrument, writing, gardening, woodworking, scrapbooking, etc., creative expression keeps you in the present moment, free from worry about the past or future. Women with creative jobs have the cardio-vascular fitness of someone 6 years younger. And listening to music can reduce your depression by 25%, according to a study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Volunteer. Doing something for someone else less fortunate instantly changes your perspective and makes you grateful for your life. Research shows that volunteerism, relieves depression, improves interpersonal skills, increases your longevity and strengthens the community. There are infinite ways to volunteer, from helping your neighbor care for their pet to working in a soup kitchen to building houses for Habitat for Humanity. Get involved and see what a difference it makes in your life.

Have a fantastic week, filled with good stress-relieving activities. Stay Fired Up!

Staying Healthy as a Way to Keep Fired Up!

Warren Whitlock, author of Twitter Revolution, wrote of my last post that he wanted more information about how to prevent illness. So for my friend Warren and the rest of my friends, new and old, here are some stress management tips and health tips to help prevent illness.

be proactive, especially when it comes to your teeth. A recent tough lesson for me came when I ground my teeth so badly that I abraded my front tooth. My dentist told me it was infected and required a root canal in a few weeks! Uggh! Teeth grinding is a very common problem, and it results in broken teeth, TMJ, headaches, neck aches and shoulder problems. Fortunately, it can be treated with cranial-sacral work, massage, mouthguards and good dental care.

• Find a way to exercise that’s fun for you, and do it three-four times a week for 30 minutes. The best way is one that does not feel like work. Get an exercise buddy and go to the gym together, go for walks and catch up on your day, or do a sport you love. My husband and I are ballroom dancers, and it’s a great workout that is fun and challenging. Find what you enjoy.

Watch your food consumption, especially sugar and sugar substitutes. Over 1 billion people worldwide are obese, and many of them are diabetic. Read Sugar Blues by William Dufty to learn about the dangers of sugar, and check on-line studies on how sugar substitutes can damage your liver and kidney. I have a sweet tooth, so I use stevia, which is an herb with no calories and no side effects. Check with your doctor for what works best for you.

Get enough sleep- 7 hours of more. The World Health Organization says less than 7 hours may be a carcinogen- cancer-causing agent!1 Less than 7 hours lowers your immune function, makes you 3x more susceptible to colds, contributes to diabetes and creates a large drop in concentration and productivity. 40% of Americans are sleep deprived, are you one of them?2

Be careful of dependency on outside stimulants, whether they’re caffeine, alcohol, prescription drugs, or sleep aids. All of these can wreak havoc on your immune system and you body’s ability to relax naturally. A study published in Harvard Science Review said that walnuts and molasses may be just as effective at fighting depression as prescription drugs!3

Spend time in nature. Nature is soothing to the system on so many levels, from the physical contact of bare feet on sand, to the soothing relief of negative ions from oceans or waterfalls. Drink in the beauty of a crimson sunset on a lake, giggle as sea gulls dive for a piece of bread, or inhale the soft fragrance of a fresh rosebud. Nature is healing; spend time outside.

This is part one. Share your suggestions with me for more tips on staying healthy! Write me at orders@firedupow.com
1 Fisher, Anne, “ Make sleep work for you” Fortune Small Business, Sept. 2008, p.86-90
http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/19/smallbusiness/make_sleep_work_for_you.fsb/index.htm

2 Schwab, Dave, “Study: Naps improves brain power,” La Jolla Light, CA, April 1, 2009

3 . “Eat your way happy and healthy,” Woman’s World, May 5 2008, p.12
http://www.harvardscience.harvard.edu/medicine-health/articles/food-ingredients-may-be-effective-antidepressants