Woman sleeping in low-lit room

Fight Fatigue With Power Naps

If you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode entitled “The Nap,” you may know that no one knows the power of a good nap quite like George Constanza. When a glass window in his office prevents him from daytime slumber, George asks Jerry’s contractor to trick out the area underneath his desk with all the creature comforts required for a stress-free, uninterrupted nap, including a shelf for his alarm clock and a cup holder. Although this set up predictably backfires on George, one cannot fault him for his dogged pursuit of a good nap. Napping is a great way to fight fatigue and stay on top of things and research finds that they can also effectively reduce stress and risk of heart disease.

Naps Combat Sleep Deprivation
Sara C. Mednick, author of “Take A Nap! Change Your Life” says, “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.” You also want to consider the length of your nap and the role it plays in its effect on the brain. A 20 minute nap, also referred to as the stage 2 nap, is recommended for remaining alert and sharpening motor learning skills like playing an instrument or typing. Longer naps help aid memory and improve creativity. Thirty to sixty minute naps-slow-wave sleep- enhance skills dealing with decision making and memorization of vocabulary or directions. REM sleep, which usually comes after 60 to 90 minutes of napping, helps the brain to form connections and solve creative problems.

Naps or Coffee
Who needs naps when you’ve got caffeine, right? Well, maybe not. Though a cup of java may improve alertness, caffeine can decrease your memory’s performance making you more likely to make mistakes and leave you cranky and unfocused.

Napping Tips
You may not put George Costanza- like strategy in planning your daily nap, but there are some tips to make the experience a little more beneficial.

Consistency
Schedule your naps. The best time for most people is in the middle of the day, between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m.

Speed
If you are not lucky enough to have a built in space for your alarm clock in your napping area, you can set your cell phone alarm clock to wake you up in 30 minutes or less. This will ensure you don’t wake up groggy.

Darkness
If you can’t nap in a dark room, you may want to wear an eye mask. Blocking light out will help you fall asleep more quickly.

Warmth
Body temperature drops when you sleep, so make sure you have a blanket handy if a snooze is on the agenda.

If you are a proud napper, we would love to hear all about your experiences. What is your favorite place to nap and what are your suggestions for a great nap? Let us know!

Woman having a neck ache

Fighting Muscle Fatigue     

Summer is a great time to change up (or start) your workout routine. The weather is warmer and the days are longer, and people are getting out of the gym (and off the couch) and flocking to bike paths, fields, and tennis courts to get in their 60 active minutes. We all know how important it is to stay active. Working out a few times a week can help fight muscle fatigue, lose weight, and give you more energy. It’s important to fight lactic acid accumulation and avoid fatiguing your muscles so you can finish strong and stay fit. There are tons of supplements out there that are marketed for stopping muscle fatigue and building muscle faster, but there are a few simple and inexpensive ways you can defend your guns.

Stay Hydrated
This may seem too simple, but getting enough water is essentially for your muscles to function properly. In fact, muscle fatigue and cramping are actually a side effect of dehydration. Always be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Making a habit of drinking water throughout the day is going to prepare your body for you work out. Increasing your H2O intake can also give you more energy, help you skin, and help you stay focused!

Get Your Protein
Eating a protein rich meal after a workout is going to help you build muscle. Your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate after your workout ends, so it is important that you are ingesting enough calories at that point, otherwise you can actually lose muscle. Building strong muscles is going to help stop future muscle fatigue. Although protein is most commonly connected with eating meat, it is also high in fat. You can also get your protein boost with beans, nuts, and protein powders.

Add Resveratrol to Your Diet
Resveratrol is a substance found naturally in plants that can prevent muscle fatigue. You may have heard about exciting new studies that have added fighting muscle fatigue to resveratrol’s list of benefits. Muscle fatigue is most often caused by leading a sedentary lifestyle, and resveratrol can actually give you the benefits of exercise, even when eating a diet high in sugar and fat. Scientists have studied animals, and found out that those given resveratrol were able to counteract the muscle fatigue that can come with eating poorly and not exercising. This wonderful antioxidant is sold in supplement form, but it can be found in the skins of different types of berries. This is extra exciting because, as many of us know, resveratrol is found in red wine because it is fermented in grape skins, which have a high concentration of the substance.

Before you kick back with a glass of red and forget about working out, resveratrol is not a replacement for a balanced diet and regular exercise. That being said, drinking red wine can actually help you muscles- so raise a glass!