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catch some pzizz

a new study from Harvard shows quite a definitive link between naps and lowered death rate. they’re not sure the link yet, but they believe it’s through the lowering of stress that their study group had death rates 2/3 lower than those of a control group (those that don’t take naps). current recommendations are that if you can take a midday nap, do so, w/ their guidelines describing at least 3x weekly naps of 30 min or so.

right on! i completely agree – i’ve been taking midday naps w/ a relative consistency since this past September, and i love it. i feel refreshed mentally and physically, w/ more energy for getting back to work than what a cup of coffee does for me (though i’m not against both…). it seems to be fairly common knowledge, or sense, that naps make you feel better and think and act better, but for some reason it’s unacceptable in western capitalist society (even the AP article describes would-be nappers as “office slackers”).  mediterranean society has the right idea w/ siestas. i don’t know how, but i’m going to try to somehow maintain a 20 minute daily midday nap when i start working, several times a week at the least.

i started napping successfully when i got hold of this software called pzizz. they sell hardware (basically a portable media player) that only produces their ‘nap’ songs, but you can also download it as i’ve done. pzizz isn’t just nature or ambient sounds – it combines soothing suggestive therapy as well. all of that is well and good, but the great thing about pzizz is that it generates the nap each time you listen to it, so that you can’t get used to a certain audio pattern. w/ a static song, it would be very easy to get used to the sounds and it wouldn’t be long before it would become ineffective as a sleeping aid. pzizz makes a different song every time, all ambient and soothing. i generally take a nap 2-3 times a week and very, very rarely have any trouble falling asleep, resting, and waking in the 20 min time frame. you can also specify the time of your nap, the volume of the voice, and the volume of the music. there is also a separate ‘sleep’ setting if you don’t want a nap. you can also export the naps as mp4s for audio playback on a portable media player, such as ipod – which is what i normally do.

the only issue that i have when taking a nap is blocking out noise. i normally nap in the library or my home office, where noise is kept to a minimum, but it really helps to have good headphones that will focus your attention on what you’re listening to. i feel this way about any time of music i’m listening to, but it obviously is more important if you’re trying to rest. i use shure headphones, which use ‘noise cancellation technology’ – basically the speakers/ear buds have built in ear plugs. they’re great in that regard – i actually keep my volume setting as low as it can go on my ipod when using these headphones. the sound quality is also very good (i’m using the lowest quality of shure headphones – quality is apparently incredible when you move into the $500 range).

so, if you want to nap, i highly recommend pzizz. if you don’t want to shell out money for it (i grabbed a free copy through a promotion), grab a pair of headphones or ear plugs, and take a nap anyway – it’ll make you feel better and you’ll live forever.

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Categories: health, work
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