Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

See, Esther? Siesta!

Drool is bad for a keyboard!

The coach in the next office came by yesterday and gave me one of those 5-hour energy things for some reason. Despite the fact that I was wide awake, alert, and actually working, he felt the need to present me with the little bottle of pick-me-up. I'm not opposed to artificially jump-starting myself on those mornings when I have a 7 a.m. appointment and have to get to the gym by 6 to get my workout done, but that means a cup of coffee about 8 a.m. I've always been leery of other substances that might be loaded with things I don't really need. But I can understand how the air-traffic controllers get the sleepys overnight. Usually, on the really early work days, I DO get a bit droopy mid-afternoon (I need a windowed office!), but then, again, I'm not trying to keep hundreds of people alive, so a feet-on-the-desk-pretending-to-read posture is no big deal. While a nap is not under consideration, I've always wondered whether the folks in places that take siestas every afternoon actually had the right idea.
In 1995, Mark Rosekind, a sleep expert associated with the NTSB completed a study that found that a nap of approximately 26 minutes upped performance by 34% and alertness by a whopping 54%. That was then, and this is now. Currently, "experts" think 26 minutes is too long.
Jim Horne, Director of Sleep Research in England figures that after 20 minutes, we drift off into deep sleep that leaves us drowsy when we awaken. He posits that 15 minutes is just about right, but he combines that with caffeine in the form of coffee which will activate the nervous system after 20 minutes...something like an internal alarm clock, I guess. The timing of the nap is also important.
Researchers in New Mexico figure that if one tries to nap too early in the day, the body refuses to nod off, and if the would-be Sleeping Beauty waits too long, the night's sleep is disrupted. Sounds about right to me. So what's the optimal time frame for this quick catnap?
Best guess is sometime between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. which would mean that all those folks that take a siesta early in the afternoon are much smarter than those of us who slog through an entire day telling ourselves that we are still productive even as our heads smack into the keyboard or our chins bruise the xyphoid process.
Hasta manana...I'm off to nap just before bedtime!


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