Monday, March 22, 2010

Nap Time

The news that Spain is considering making the siesta an official national cultural tradition is a bit of a joke. Animal activists perposed the idea after a resent move to elevate the status of bull fighting. But the nappers may be onto something. Perhaps the rest of the world should follow Spain’s lead and start napping more frequently.

A resent study from Berkley shows that napping increases brain functioning. Perhaps if we all napped for an hour or two after lunch we would be more productive during the final hours of the afternoon.

The brain is a muscle. When it is overstressed, it gets tired, just like any other muscle in the body. And a good strong brain workout should cause just as much fatigue as a trip to the gym. Napping is then the body’s way of resting the well excersized brain muscle.

Personal experience tells me that the connection between nap-time and cognative development is real. As a dyslexic child, reading always made me extreamly sleepy. I would try and try and try to sound words out. Then I would need a nap. After I took the SAT, I think I slept for about a week.

My grandmother has recently begun to show evidence of the need to nap as well. She has alsimers disease, and has slowly been loosing her memory for about ten years. At a recent appointment with her doctor, my grandfather mensioned that she has been napping for several hours everyday. The doctor didn’t think this was any sign of a physical problem. Instead he reminded my grandfather that my grandmother is constantly excersizing her brain muscle as she tries to remember minor details of her life. It’s no wonder she’s so sleepy.

My grandmother recently moved from an independent living apartment in a retirement home to an assisted living apartment in the health center of her retirement home. In her new apartment she is in a less stressful environment, where she is not required to remember as many aspects of day to day life. The result – less naps. As early as a week after moving into her new place, my grandmother stopped requiring as many naps.

So if you don’t need a siesta every afternoon, does it mean you’re so smart that your brain can handle any task you throw at it? Or does it mean you’re so lazy, you’re barely even breaking a cognitive sweat? I’m with Spain on this one. I say, lets start thinking, and lets start napping. Who’s got a pillow?

Joke of the Day

A patient went to see the doctor and had a series of tests run. The doctor came back with the results and said, “Well, it’s not good. I have bad news, and I have worse news.”

“Oh no,” said the patient. “Give me the worse news first.”

“You have advanced liver cancer. I expect that you have about six weeks left to live.”

“Oh my goodness, that’s horrible. What’s the bad news?”

“You have alsimers,” said the doctor.

“Yeah, that is bad news. But at least I don’t have a terminal illness.”

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