[Grad-postdoc-assn] Fwd: TP Msg. #1112 'Turn Your Zzz's Into A's'

Vanessa Schweizer vanessa at ucar.edu
Sat Jun 25 12:22:07 MDT 2011

A tip (or reminder) on productivity that we all can use!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rick Reis <reis at stanford.edu>
Date: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 9:27 AM
Subject: TP Msg. #1112 'Turn Your Zzz's Into A's'
To: tomorrows-professor <tomorrows-professor at lists.stanford.edu>

However, research has repeatedly shown that when supplementing 7-9 hours of
sleep, 20-30 minute naps do offer these benefits, particularly when taken
between the hours of 10 to 11 a.m. or 2 to 4 p.m., when human sleep rhythms
trigger a natural slump with grogginess and lack of focus.


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The posting below looks at the importance of taking naps during the day to
make us feel better and more productive. It is by Allie Grasgreen from the
January June 3, 2011, issue of INSIDE HIGHER ED, an excellent - and free -
online source for news, opinion and jobs for all of higher education.  You
can subscribe by going to: http://insidehighered.com/.  Also for a free
daily update from Inside Higher  Ed, e-mail [
scott.jaschik at insidehighered.com]. Copyright ©2011 Inside Higher Ed
Reprinted with permission.


Rick Reis
reis at stanford.edu
UP NEXT: Diagnosing the Type and Nature of Conflict in Organizations

Tomorrow's Academic Careers

------------------------------------ 892 words

'Turn Your Zzz's Into A's'

PHOENIX -- Did you get a complete and restful night's sleep last night? If
not, and if right now you're reading this article rather than focusing on
work, your time might be better spent on a short nap to boost your focus and

That's what the National Sleep Foundation says, and it's a message that
health education professionals at the University of California at Davis have
been spreading to their students over the course of a four-year campaign,
encouraging napping to boost academic performance. They shared their
strategies here Thursday at the annual meeting of the American College
Health Association.

"We're familiar with the benefits of sleep," said Amelia Goodfellow, a
student assistant in sleep and stress at the UC Davis health center. "We're
not as familiar with the impacts or positive effects of napping, which are
very similar." For students, the benefits of increased productivity and
concentration will translate to better academic performance, the presenters
argued -- even though they acknowledge having no data to back that up.

However, research has repeatedly shown that when supplementing 7-9 hours of
sleep, 20-30 minute naps do offer these benefits, particularly when taken
between the hours of 10 to 11 a.m. or 2 to 4 p.m., when human sleep rhythms
trigger a natural slump with grogginess and lack of focus.

So for Goodfellow and her co-presenter Jason B. Spitzer, a health educator
at Davis, encouraging students to take naps and improve their state of mind
-- not to mention stay awake and alert during classes -- was more important
than proving through research that they correlate with better grades. (They
also haven't tracked whether more students have started napping over the
years, saying the focus up to this point has been more on perfecting the
message. But now they're starting to "think creatively" about how to track
campaign outcomes, Spitzer said.)

Gathering data from the National College Health Assessment and a 9-question
assessment called the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, they discovered that
while 33 percent of Davis students didn't nap at all, three-quarters of
those who did nap did so for too long -- more than 30 minutes, to the point
where they'd wake up groggy and negate the whole point of the nap. (Although
males napped more than females -- about 80 percent versus 70 percent -- the
gender proportion of students who napped for the appropriate 30 minutes was
about even.) That told the educators that a napping campaign would have to
address two distinct populations: non-nappers and long nappers.

While each subset would need its own targeted themes -- for non-nappers,
focusing on the reasons why they should and the lack of time and effort
required to do so; for long nappers, strategies to limit sleep and
suggestions for nap locations other than bed -- the key message was the
same: take naps, get better grades.

The campaign has evolved over the years, and today involves multiple
platforms and strategies. Health educators hand out "nap kits" at the cost
of $2.75 apiece; they include earplugs, an eye mask and a tip card with
directions to additional resources online. They advertise with fliers and
advertisements in the student newspaper featuring napping tips and benefits,
and they team with the student government to spread the word on napping
during National Sleep Awareness Week. And tapping into social media sites
such as Facebook and Twitter gets the educators "a bigger bang for our
buck," Goodfellow said.

Napping campaigns are far from common; the only other two the Davis
educators know of are at Oregon State and San Diego State Universities, the
latter of which pioneered the idea and inspired the Davis "nap map," which
records the best places to nap on campus, "rated and evaluated by students,
for students" Goodfellow said.

The nap map is a key component to the campaign (it's received more than
16,000 hits online) because students can be resistant to napping on campus,
and this resource includes photographs and descriptions of dozens of prime
napping spots, both indoors and outdoors.

The best locations have comfortable furniture and low light, and aren't too
loud. However, one should not sacrifice safety for the sake of privacy. "You
have to kind of weigh both of those criteria," Goodfellow said. "You want
someplace that's private where you won't be near too many people, but isn't
so private that it's unsafe."

Goodfellow and Spitzer said departments across the campus have bought into
the campaign, and some -- particularly offices like the Student Academic
Success Center, which is designed to support struggling students -- even
distribute materials themselves. The only resistance was anecdotal,
Goodfellow said. "We've had a couple interesting encounters with librarians
not wanting people to nap." (She jokingly noted that she herself at first
resisted the nap map: "I was kind of reluctant to share my own napping spots
because I didn't want them publicized too much," she said.)

The Davis campaign is still being revised every year, as student barriers to
napping either emerge or don't break down. "Again, we're seeing that
students are napping for too long, and we want to improve their napping and
their sleep quality," Spitzer said. Hence the next step for Davis: a
campaign on good sleeping habits, because napping is only beneficial as a
supplement to -- not a substitute for -- a good night's sleep.

* * * * * * *
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Vanessa Schweizer
ASP Postdoctoral Fellow
Climate and Global Dynamics (CGD) Division &
Integrated Science Program (ISP)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
P.O. Box 3000 | Boulder, CO 80307 | USA

Phone: +1 (303) 497-1713
Fax: +1 (303) 497-1314
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