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Need an Energy Boost? Skip the Coffee, Take a Nap — Health Check

catnap
kilarin, Flickr

If you find yourself dragging in the middle of the day, don’t reach for the coffee pot — reach for a pillow instead. Experts say naps may be a good way to make up for the sleep deficit many of us have from not getting enough shut-eye at night.

“You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,” says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. “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.”

In fact, the length of nap you take and the type of sleep you get helps determine the brain-boosting benefits. For example, a 20-minute power nap is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano, while longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity.

As for the coffee, think twice. Caffeine can actually decrease memory performance, leaving you more alert but also more prone to making mistakes.

[Web MD]

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