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Tired? Sleepy? Exhausted? Take a PREM Nap!

A fifteen minute PREM nap can rejuvenate your afternoons and evenings.


Technique of a Conventional Power Nap

Following tips will you help you rejuvenate your day with a 15 minute power nap.
• Proudly let your staff know that you will be taking a fifteen-minute nap. “Doctor’s orders,” you may add.
• Set your Smartphone alarm, preferably on vibrate, to go off in fifteen minutes. A study from Australia has shown that napping for less than ten minutes is suboptimal. More than twenty minutes can be counterproductive because of post-nap grogginess.
• Turn on relaxing music. You can try noise-canceling headphones. Bose are the best.
• Put on eye shades. I find my Notre Dame cap very useful, especially when taking a nap in the public place. I just pull it down over my eyes, and I am off to the land of dreams.
• Stretch on the couch or recline in the chair. Turn the chair away from people and toward the window or wall. A study from China showed greater benefit with stretching on the couch as opposed to sitting.
• Close your eyes, shut off your mind, and relax.
• Wake up with a smile and vigor when the alarm goes off.

A REM nap improves creative problem solving by a whopping 40 percent. A very interesting study done by Dr. Sara Mednik and her team at University of California, San Diego, looked at creative problem solving before and after a nap. Participants were given three words and asked to find a word that can link all of the three words, for example, sixteen, candy, and heart. The answer is sweet: sweet sixteen, sweet candy, and sweet heart. There was an amazing 40 percent improvement after a nap containing REM sleep.

Remember that REM sleep has an active brain in a paralyzed body. Mother Nature made it so we do not act out our dreams. Also, studies have shown that REM sleep has a tremendous amount of random, bizarre, and seemingly unrelated activity going on, which our brain is trying to connect together to make some sense of it. Some researchers believe this is why REM nap is able to boost creative problem solving by linking these random and totally unrelated activities together. This is the wildest and craziest form of thinking outside the box. Studies have shown that REM sleep plays a pivotal role in memory consolidation, too.

Can we do better than just lie down and relax for fifteen minutes? Can we modify our technique to make our nap more restorative, more recuperative, and more energizing? I think we can by adding just a few steps to our conventional nap. I should clarify that these recommendations are not based on any specific scientific studies, but my experience as a practicing sleep specialist and lifelong nap-taker.

Let us learn to take PREM (Patel’s Relaxed Eye Muscles) nap.

Read a couple of lines from the Bible, Gita or any other religious book before the nap. You can store them on your Smartphone and read them before setting up the fifteen-minute alarm. REM sleep, the sleep stage with vivid dreams, unfortunately, has predominantly negative emotions like fear, anxiety, guilt, and anger. Here, we are trying to replace them with joy, optimism, love, and faith. Matthew 18:23–26, says, “Have faith in God. I assure you: If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Luke 6:27–36 says, “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also.”

• Begin your nap with five to ten slow, deep, and regular breaths. Control of breathing is control of life. Breathing, unlike heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and gastrointestinal motility/secretions, is the only vital function that we can easily control. And it is a time-tested tool used for centuries to achieve relaxation.

• Progressive muscle relaxation is incompatible with somatic anxiety. So, by focusing on respiration and relaxation, we are getting rid of anxiety, both from our conscious and our subconscious. As you breathe in and out, relax the muscles of your eyeballs and then continue to relax all the other muscles from head to toe and drift down into a state of pleasant relaxation. And when the alarm goes off, wake up with tremendous positive energy.

I call this my PREM nap! This revolutionary power nap taps into REM sleep’s restorative power and limitless creativity.

Please watch this seven minute instructional video and start regaining your afternoons and evenings.

Happy Napping!

Alertness Maximization Tips for Journalists

Journalists have to analyze enormous amount of information in a very short amount of time. They have to broadcast this information in a comprehensible manner at times without much rehearsal. Journalists, the watchdogs of democracy, work long hours and get insufficient amount of sleep. This can adversely affect their alertness and their information management skills significantly, but they may not be aware of these deficits because of impaired self-evaluation secondary to under active prefrontal cortex (the executive center located in the frontal lobe of brain) .

General Tips for Journalists

  • Take a long nap to reduce sleep debt. Use the afternoon circadian dip in alertness to your advantage. Take a nap after lunch to pay up your sleep debt. If you are sleeping from ten at night to four in the morning (working for early morning show) OR from two in the morning to eight in the morning (working for late evening show), then take a two-hour nap from noon to two o’clock. Avoid an evening nap because it can disrupt your sleep.
  • Exercise for thirty minutes every day. This will improve your deep sleep, alertness, emotional intelligence, and information management. You can review data while paddling a stationary bike.
  • Beware of bagginess. Sleep deprivation will make bagginess under the eyes worse. Your makeup artist can help. But better yet, just sleep well. This way, you will look and feel better, too!
  • Talk slow, and think fast. Cognitive slowing occurs with sleep deprivation.
  • Compile data in one location as opposed to keeping information spread across various email folders, laptop folders, and your briefcase.
  • Write, or, better yet, draw since visual memory is less affected than verbal memory.
  • Sleep deprivation affects verbal fluency. Avoid tongue twisters.  Short sentences are perfect.
  • Recognize that sleep deprivation forms false memory. Retrieval of information is impaired. Always check and recheck facts, especially when sleep deprived.

Tips for the Early Morning Media Person

Following tips will help early morning media person excel despite insufficient sleep and circadian mismatch.

  • Plan on going to bed at eight or latest by nine in the evening.
  • Enjoy a good lunch and a two-hour nap in early afternoon to pay up your sleep debt.
  • If you sleep in until eight or nine in the morning on weekends, truncate or even eliminate the afternoon nap. If you prefer to continue the weekday routine, that is perfectly fine, too.
  • Avoid caffeine after one o’clock. The early morning caffeine will help maximize alertness, but use it judiciously.
  • Stay alert while driving to work, especially on those dark winter mornings. Most fatal accidents occur during early morning hours.
  • Avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime because it will rob you of your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and make your sleep non-restorative. Start drinking early!
  • Avoid staring at bright light in the evening. It will make it harder to fall asleep at eight or nine  o’clock at night.

Tips for the Late Night Media Person

It is relatively easier for the late-night anchor because it is easier to postpone sleep than to advance it. This is, in part, secondary to the fact that our sleep-wake cycle is slightly longer than twenty-four hours.

Following recommendations will help you excel.

  • Sleep from two o’clock to ten o’clock if you can. To help you sleep until ten o’clock, make sure your windows have dark drapes and the phone is turned off.
  • Make sure your family members respect your sleeping through the morning hours. Put a “shift worker at sleep” sign on your bedroom door.
  • Keep your phone and laptop turned off during your sleep time.
  • If you can’t sleep until ten, then catch up by napping for an hour or two after a good lunch. Make sure you take this catch-up nap as early in the afternoon as you can so it does not interfere with your sleep onset at night.
  • Stay alert driving to home after work, especially on those dark winter mornings. Most fatal accidents occur between midnight and six o’clock.

Feel free to email me with your questions and comments at md4sleep@gmail.com.

Thanks for keeping us informed. God bless you.

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