Naps are for real men not children! 

Ok! Maybe taking naps doesn’t mean you can win a fight or get better at hunting and fishing , or make you into a chiseled greek god, but it is a funny joke that my wife and I like to pass back and fourth when shes making fun of me for napping a few hours after I wake up! While naps might not make you a “Real Man” they do serve an important purpose for me as a developer. 

When you think about the stereotypical developer, you often think of long hours… in a dark cubicle… in very comfy clothes… coding and hacking your way to greatness! The problem for me though (which has sometimes made me wonder if I am in a lesser class of developer) is that I simply don’t have the mental stamina to code efficiently 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I get tired, my mind wanders, and I lose efficiency.

Enter the nap! What I heave learned over the years is if I sit down to get something done on the computer, I’m in my flow state relatively quickly, but after 3 to 5 hours I’m starting to slip back out. Things are starting to distract me, my mind is wandering, I start working on other areas of my project without completing the one I set out to do.. and so on. I find that a mid-day nap fully restores my focus and allows me to work a 10 or 12 hour day without any of the grueling side effects of doing the same amount of work without a mid day nap! 

So guys let’s embrace the nap they aren’t just for babies! 

Here is an article that explains in detail what seems to be my personal experience.

According to Kirsten Weir I am not alone in this feeling! 

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/07-08/naps

According to this and many other studies napping has many positive effects on cognitive functions!

Here are a couple excerpts from the article attached to this link.

for healthy adults who do get a reasonable amount of nighttime sleep, is there any benefit to a midday nap? Signs point to yes, says Kimberly A. Cote, PhD, a psychology professor at Brock University in Ontario. While little work has been done to look at the long-term effects of habitual napping, studies point to a variety of immediate benefits following an afternoon nap.”

Sleep and learning

Even in well-rested people, naps can improve performance in areas such as reaction time, logical reasoning and symbol recognition, as Cote described in a 2009 review (Journal of Sleep Research, 2009). They can also be good for one’s mood.

A study by University of Michigan doctoral student Jennifer Goldschmied and colleagues found that after waking from a 60-minute midday nap, people were less impulsive and had greater tolerance for frustration than people who watched an hourlong nature documentary instead of sleeping (Personality and Individual Differences, 2015). “Frustration tolerance is one facet of emotion regulation,” says Goldschmied. “I suspect sleeping gives us more distance [from an emotional event] — it’s not just about the passing of time.”

Researchers are only just starting to understand how naps might affect emotion regulation, Goldschmied adds. But the benefits of napping for memory and learning are well described. “Even a brief bit of sleep helps reinforce learned material,” she says.

For many types of memory, the benefits of a nap are substantial, says Sara Mednick, PhD, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside. Take perceptual learning. Previous research demonstrated that people perform better on a visual texture-distinguishing task after a night of sleep than they do immediately after learning it. Further, Mednick and colleagues found people performed just as well on the test after a 60- to 90-minute nap as they did after a full night of slumber (Nature Neuroscience, 2003).

“What’s amazing is that in a 90-minute nap, you can get the same [learning] benefits as an eight-hour sleep period,” Mednick says. “And actually, the nap is having an additive benefit on top of a good night of sleep.”

In another experiment, Mednick found that an afternoon nap was about equal to a dose of caffeine for improving perceptual learning. But in other ways, a midday doze might trump your afternoon latte. She found people who napped performed better on a verbal word-recall task an hour after waking compared with people who took caffeine or a placebo (Behavioural Brain Research, 2008). While caffeine enhances alertness and attention, naps boost those abilities in addition to enhancing some forms of memory consolidation, Mednick notes.

A catnap can benefit performance in a variety of other memory domains as well. In one recent example, Axel Mecklinger, PhD, at Saarland University in Germany, and colleagues studied memory recall in volunteers who learned single words as well as meaningless word pairs (such as “milk-taxi”). Half of the participants then took a 90-minute nap, while the others watched a DVD. Then the researchers retested participants’ recall.

Both groups remembered about the same number of single words. This was a test of so-called item memory — the type of memory you use when you recall a grocery list. But the nappers remembered significantly more of the word pairs. This type of “associative memory” is involved in remembering things that are linked, such as putting a name with a face. And unlike item memory, the hippocampus plays a strong role in associative memory, suggesting that naps benefit hippocampus-dependent learning (Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2015).

 

 

 

 

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