I downloaded a bunch of ebooks over the past few weeks. I had been forgetting that there has been some incredible material in the ebook format for some time now, and decided I would just download a whole bunch and start reading. My ebook collection is pretty overwhelming, but Jeff at SleepWarrior got my attention with his 40 Sleep Hacks: The Geeks Guide to Optimizing Sleep.

I’ve managed to cut my nighttime sleep to 6-hours a night, so I can wake up early enough to start the morning in quiet (parents of small children can understand) and to have the time to ride my bike to work. Of course, I would come home exhausted and was terribly ineffective in the afternoon and evening – when I am supposed to be studying for grad school.

The most beneficial chapter from 40 Sleep Hacks was about taking naps. It lead me to realize that I had two major misconceptions on napping that I’m sure some of you might have too. The first one is that there’s some stigma with most of society that believe adult napping is for lazy people. Stop sleeping on the job! Get more sleep at night! The fact is, napping can actually increase productivity, improve stamina, reduce stress, and produce a host of other benefits according to SleepWarrior.

The second misconception I had about napping is that a nap doesn’t have to be an hour long, or even five minutes. The light bulb for me was that you can set your alarm like you would going to bed at night! I know it sounds like a silly realization, but this is why reading is so important. I can just go about my life without realizing little facts that are right in front of my face. This is also a testament to finding some ebooks and reading plenty of them.

20-minutes is the perfect length to take a nap. I actually set my alarm for 30-minutes so I can guarantee 20-minutes of sleep without being late to my next committment. Another great part about the afternoon nap is that I have an excuse to follow it with a mini morning routine which includes the best beverage on earth – coffee. It’s amazing on how relaxed I am after my nap, and drink a relaxing cup of espresso, then just knock out any work I have to do, without the craziness of trying to cram my work into the afternoon. Of course, I also have more energy to study and write the million papers I have to write in the evening, and still be in bed to read by 10pm, asleep by 11, and up at 5am. It truly, truly works this way.

Of course, 40 Sleep Hacks isn’t all about naps. There are also great chapters on sleep such as having a nighttime sleep schedule, diet, and dreaming. I just wanted to tell the world that it’s okay to take a nap, and napping can truly improve your quality of life in many ways. Although the siesta-practicing cultures don’t need to hear this. They have it pretty well figured out.

Always Enjoy Life,

Zach Ellerbrook

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