When I lived in Italy, we went to school until 12:30 then returned home for 2 hours for lunch and a nap. Afterward we went back to study until 6:00. At the time I was astounded at how much more Italian high school students learned compared to American students. New research shows that the napping might have something to do with it.
A University of California, Berkeley study took 39 healthy adults and studied their ability to learn and memorize with or without naps. The participants who napped between learning sessions (for 90 minutes) improved their own scores by 10 percent while their non-napping counterparts saw scores dropping by 10 percent. Continue reading Sleep and Learning: More sleep means less study needed→
In the 1920s, when electricity was not nearly as prevalent (but sources of artificial light were common), Americans were surveyed on sleep habits. The average American slept 9 hours a night, which meant that many slept more. Today the average American is believed to sleep 6 1/2 hours a night. We have not biologically evolved to need less sleep.
There are many types of insomnia: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking too early and sleeping at too superficial a level. People with sleep apnea may believe they sleep like a log, but they have hundreds of micro-awakenings from not being able to breathe, which send their adrenals into fight or flight mode and which leave them exhausted throughout the day. Sleep problems can be occasional, transitory (for short periods of time) or chronic. But the problem I see the most in practice is that people aren’t spending enough time in bed.
Summer brings more light and usually increased levels of activity. You can indulge in more work or play. But don’t let that extra daylight rob you of sleep.
Sleep is essential for your well being. One study published in the journal Science found that the quality of our sleep has a greater influence on our ability to enjoy our day than our income or our marital status. Yet, we remain a sleep-deprived culture.