Why take an afternoon nap?

Good question. Perhaps one answer is a reference to one man known for "nodding off" in the afternoon -- Albert Einstein. Actually more than one great thinker has been known to take brief afternoon power naps. So ... here's a great way to boost your brain power in the afternoon - take a quickie power nap, then forego coffee and instead grab a chunk of dark chocolate! Sound like an odd combination? More and more researchers are saying that power naps are just the thing for quickie boosts to one's cognitive edge, memory, creativity, and level of energy. The Importance of Nap Length. Research indicates that the length of your nap will determine your brain-boosting benefits. The 20-minute power nap, for example, yields a great boost in mental alertness and motor learning skills required to learn a new skill like playing a musical instrument. But what if you nap for more than 20 minutes? Research shows that such longer naps tend to help boost your memory and enhance your creativity. Napping for from 30 to 60 minutes, on the other hand, creates beneficial "slow-wave sleep." Such naps are related to improved decision-making and memorizing skills. If you nap from 60 to 90 minutes you will almost certainly enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Such longer nap periods are important in making new connections among your neurons (brain cells), and in creating solutions to complex problems. An interesting study by Matthew P. Walker, an assistant professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley, found that adults who napped for 90 minutes after lunch significantly increased their learning power. Naps Versus Coffee. Is taking a power nap better than grabbing a cup of coffee? Yes, since caffeine can actually decrease your memory. You may feel more wired after a cup of coffee, but you're also more prone to making mistakes. Grab a Piece of Chocolate. Grab a piece of dark chocolate after your nap to sharpen up your mind and boost your cognitive skills. A study by Professor Ian Macdonald from the University of Nottingham found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols — a key ingredient of dark chocolate — can boost the blood flow to key areas of your brain for up to two to three hours. Increased blood flow to these areas of the brain helps increase performance in specific tasks and boost general alertness over a short period. The study suggests that the cocoa flavanols found in chocolate could be useful in enhancing brain function for people fighting fatigue, sleep deprivation, and even the effects of ageing. Flavanols are also present in red wine, green tea and blueberries.

Can't Take a Nap?

Here's an alternative if you just can't find a way to take an afternoon nap at work: listen to a 10-minute "Power Nap" brain entrainment audio you've stored on your pad or mobile phone! Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler, a 45-year pioneer brain/mind researcher, has engineered just such an audio -- "Power Nap" -- a 10-minute MP3 brain entrainment audio you can download and listen to during a brief break from your workload. You'll emerge as refreshed as though you've had a 30 minute power nap. Click here to learn more. by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler