Learn better by napping better

napI recently read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal called “The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science.” I have always approached napping as a science, carefully defining the timing and settings that optimize the quality of a nap. Yes, I think and talk this way, which is a source of great humor to my wife. Wasn’t she surprised to discover that the research reported in this article supports my approach to napping? The article divides naps into three categories: 10-20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes or longer. A 10-to-20-minute nap has been shown to be the most refreshing and useful for productivity. The implication is that most people, particularly those in leadership, would benefit from a short daily nap. A 30-minute nap gets to deeper sleep, but leaves people groggy. A 60-minute nap is the one that most interested me, and is the one most relevant to learning and leadership. The article reported that naps of 60 minutes or more increase learning. There has been other evidence that sleep helps cognitive processing, but this research provides explicit evidence. One aspect of our approach aligns with this research. Our learning platform is a cloud app that learners can access at any time. We tell people that the idea behind all of the learning activities is to get the brain started on a topic so the learner can then sleep on it. People tell us that they often wake up with a refined idea about some aspect of their learning program. They then go into the learning platform and record their thinking. This is the best of “sleeping on it,” and it is a powerful force for long-term learning. Tonight at 7 PM I’m speaking at the Lake Oswego, Oregon Public Library on “Finding Your Greatness.” If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there.]]>

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