Survival of the Fittest – How long Naps benefits the Brain

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Benefits of Naps

So what are the most ideal ways to nap? Napping can be seen as a quick reboot or boost for the brain. Think of when your computer is starting to perform slowly and things aren’t responding up to par, after you shut everything down and do a reboot, things are back up to speed. The brain is quite similar in that, as you nap, even for very short periods of time, benefits can be seen in a number of areas.

Sleep experts suggest  that taking a 10-to-20-minute power nap can give you a quick burst of alterness and mental clarity when you don’t have much time. This can be used throughout the day, late at night, before something important or right before you are trying to beat the final boss of a video game you’ve been playing all night right and you know you need the extra quickness.

When I was interested in trying to maximize my time awake (which I still am, but haven’t tried much lately) I did some research into sleeping cycles and how to minimize the amount of sleep you need while still being able to function well. I ended up choosing a cycle that gave me a core sleep and then several naps throughout the day that lasted about 20 minutes. I found that after the 20 minutes naps, I felt great. Very alert, mental clarity was high and I was ready to gofor the next 3 or 4 hours easily.[2]

I found though, that near the beginning of my experiment with cycles, I would start to lose cognitive clarity as I got closer to the end of the day. While this was part of the transition portion of the cycle, I got to feel what its like when the brain just isn’t getting enough deep sleep. According to Dr. Mednick, this is where longer naps of 60 minutes or so are said to be good for increasing that cognitive power again. [1] Mednick also states that the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity, emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia.

Naps Summarized

A study evaluating the recuperative effects of short and ultra short naps found that napping for 5-10 minutes can create a heightened sense of alertness and increased cognitive ability when comparing to not taking a nap at all.

If you are looking for a quick recharge: nap for 5 – 20 minutes.

If you are looking for deeper sleep rejuvenation: nap for 60 – 90 minutes.

Final tip: When you take your shorter naps, sit up slightly as it will allow you to avoid falling into a deeper sleep. If you dream during these power naps, it could be a sign that you are sleep deprived.

Credit: online.wsj.com / www.collective-evolution.com

The Scientific Power of Naps:

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Artsy Fartsy [Halloween Style] – Saturn Devouring His Son (Francisco Goya)

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In Roman myth, based heavily on the Greek myth, the father of the Gods devours his own children to ensure none greater than himself ever comes into being. It is this act of child murder that Goya has painted. The painting was never meant for public consumption, as it was painted on the wall of his house alongside several other grim paintings known collectively as ‘The Black Paintings.’ Some see the painting as a comment on the aging process that must have been playing out in the aging artist’s mind. Of the Black Paintings which Goya completed the other most famous work is probably his Witches’ Sabbath.

Saturn devouring one of his children is on display in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

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Science Behind The Brain’s Response To Dangerous Situations (Science is Awesome) – Tell us what really Scares you!!?

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According to ByteSize Science “Fear is the expectation or the anticipation of possible harm,” Dr. Abigail Marsh, associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University, says in the video. “We know that the body is highly sensitive to the possibility of threat, so there are multiple pathways that bring that fear information into the brain.”

And which part of the brain is central to the fear pathway? The amygdala, an almond-shaped group of nerve cells that release neurotransmitters, chemicals that relay signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters trigger a cascade of responses in the body responsible for that “fight or flight” response — and that adrenaline rush that not only may be key to our survival in dangerous situations, but also may make scaring yourself so fun. Adrenaline raises your heart rate and blood pressure, and gives you a boost of energy and alertness.

Luckily, the brain dials down the amygdala’s response and returns your system to normal if it recognizes that you’re not actually in danger — and you can keep scaring yourself without getting too stressed out.

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Survival of the Fittest – Natural Alternatives for Colds and Flu

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Echinacea use reduces the incidence and duration of the common cold.

Echinacea appears effective in preventing upper respiratory tract infections in children.

Treatment with Echinacea Plus tea at early onset of cold or flu symptoms was effective for relieving these symptoms in a shorter period of time than a placebo.

Probiotic bacteria reduce the duration and severity of common cold episodes.

American Ginseng is safe and effective in reducing relative risk and duration of respiratory symptoms associated with “cold and flu” in adults.

American ginseng is safe, well tolerated, and potentially effective for preventing acute respiratory illness due to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infections.

Elderberry appears to be safe and effective treatment for influenza A and B.

Elderberry significantly reduces the duration of infection from influenza in a safe manner.

Green tea is safe and effective in preventing cold and flu symptoms, and for enhancing T cell function.

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Green tea consumption is inversely associated with the incidence of influenza among Japanese schoolchldren.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with susceptibility to influenza.

An herbal preparation containing echinacea, propolis, and vitamin C in preventing respiratory tract infections in children.

There is evidence that vitamin C may reduce susceptibility to the common cold.

Pelargonium sidoides is a safe and effective treatment for the common cold

A Pelargonium sidoides extract has broad antiviral activity against respiratory viruses.

Homeopathic preparation has therapeutic value in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes.

Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum appears to have therapeutic value in influenza and influenza-like syndromes.

Zinc lozenges may provide an effective treatment for the common cold.

Zinc may inhibit influenza virus.

A combination of fruit and vegetable powder extract reduces symptoms associated with the common cold.

An extract of Baptisa (Wild Indigo), echinacea and thuja is safe and effective in the treatment of upper respiratory infections.

Consumption of yoghurt fermented with L. bulgaricus reduced the risk of catching the common cold in elderly individuals.

Cinnamon has antiviral activity against various influenza viruses.

Horseradish extract attenuates influenza infection (in mice).

Pomegranates have anti-influenza activity.

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Agrimony (A. pilosa) has broad spectrum antiviral activity against Influenzas A, B and Avian Influenza.

Black Tea inhibits influenza virus.

Cranberry juice constituents inhibit influenza virus adhesion and infectivity.

A water extract of dandelion exhibits anti-influenza activity.

Maitake mushroom appears to induce the production of certain factors, including TNF-alpha, which are responsible for the inhibition of viral growth in vitro.

Mullein contains antiviral compounds.

Red Marine Algae exhibits strong HSV and Influenza-inhibiting activity.

Credit: Green Info

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