I’m reading the book Brain Rules. The author, a developmental molecular biologist, delves into how the brain works and the best ways to accomodate learning and high work performance. I wanted to share a bit from a section that discusses sleep and its importance in learning.
- A NASA study found that a 26-minute nap improved a pilot’s performance by 34%.
- Another study found that a 45-min nap boosted cognitive performance for more than 6 hours.
- Students given a series of math problems and shown one of the many ways to solve them were then given 12 hours before being asked to solve them again. After 12 hours, 20% had found a shortcut to the problems. But, if in those 12 hours the students were allowed about 8 hours of sleep, 60% had discovered a shortcut. No matter how many times the experiment is run, the sleep group consistently outperforms the non-sleep group 3:1.
So there really is something to the phrase “sleep on it!”
Several months ago, we purchased a natural latex crib mattress for our newborn. It was pricey, but I couldn’t buy anything less, knowing what I know. Recently, we’ve decided to move my 5-year old into a full bed. He got all new furniture and of course, now we were in need of a new mattress. But a full costs oh so much more than a crib.
Again though, I couldn’t put my child on a traditional mattress, full of petrochemicals and flame retardants, off-gassing formaldehyde all around him for 10+ hours a day. So we did what we did before–we bought cheaper furniture and splurged on the mattress. The full 6″ natural talalay latex mattress made by a local company without any chemicals cost $1400. The organic wool mattress protector was $150. My son already has a nice natural latex pillow. We’re topping the bed with an organic cotton blanket, which will work for now until we need something warmer. The best thing about splurging on a natural latex mattress is that it will last 20 years–and so does the warranty. That means something to me when I have 3 kids that will likely use this mattress and when I’m already noticing that my personal 4 year old innerspring mattress is sagging. Continue reading »
I am a napper. I’ve always been. In fact, my mother didn’t know how I would handle Kindergarten, I was so dependent on my daily nap. In college, I planned my classes so that I could take a nice siesta if needed. Now that I’m a mother, I put my kids down for their naps at the same time each afternoon and try to lay down too (whether or not I nap depends a lot on how long the kids sleep and how much I have on my mind, but I at least lay down). My husband teases me about my need for naps and I frequently feel embarrassed when someone calls and asks where I was around 3pm? Um, napping but of course!
Here is a great link with tons of info about naps–why they’re good for you, what length accomplishes what, how to get the best sleep. I especially love the part that says our bodies are biologically programmed for intense sleepiness from about 1 to 3 pm. That’s certainly been my experience.