Napping for Mental Sharpness

SLEEP“Sensei,

We know that you are strong proponent on napping for strength and muscle mass, but what about this, what are your views on napping for someone like me who is a trader in the Financial Markets?”

Yes, I am a big proponent of all types of performance whether it is strength or mental acuity, one of my favorite people on this planet is perennial  World Power lifting Champion Ed Coan, who does naps on a daily basis, and feels that it is a crucial part of his training process. You don’t recover, you don’t grow.

As my friend and mentor Dr. Koppen says, the generals who can sleep are the ones who win. Both Alexander the Great and Napoleon have been know to nap before going into battle. Churchill credited napping as being one of his best weapons while he was battling Hitler The key for successful napping is 15 to 30 minutes only. The scientific literature tends to support those limits. Beyond 30 minutes, the person is too groggy to perform mentally properly.. In Special Ops and SWAT teams, the ability to nap at will is considered a desired trait…as long as someone stays up…to wake you up..

I am the type of guy who can nap sleeping length wise on a clothes line, inside a busy shooting range, at the new born nursery, no amount of noise or postural discomfort will prevent me from sleeping. Most people envy that figt.  Obviously not everyone has the luxury of catching a quick snooze at work, unless you work for either the Canadian or Italian government, but even if you only do it on the weekends, it still will make a significant difference on all types of mental performance.temp_news

What about caffeine instead ? Actually the two together yield the best results. Drink the coffee, then nap. Yes, it takes away for the caffeine in the coffee to take effect. Research shows that combo yields the best result in increase in mental performance.

P.S. If you want the scientific basis  to support  the caffeine/nap combo, read:

[1] Corrie Pikul, 02/27/2012, Oprah magazine, 6 More Health Myths—Busted!, Retrieved Aug. 29, 2014, “…Drinking a cup of coffee and then immediately snoozing for 15 minutes was more effective at reviving a wiped-out person..”

[2] Reyner, LA; Horne, JA (1998). “Evaluation ‘in-car’ countermeasures to sleepiness: Cold air and radio”. Sleep 21 (1): 46–50. PMID 9485532.

[3] Horne, J. A.; Reyner, L. A. (1995). “Driver sleepiness”. Journal of Sleep Research 4 (S2): 23–29. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.1995.tb00222.x. PMID 106072

P.P.S. I use the caffeine/nap combo to get ready for training when my traveling schedule takes a beating out of me.