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Why we should all take a nap in the afternoon

July 17, 2014  |  Posted by Brain Rules | No Comments

Why we should all take a nap in the afternoon




Watch the video

It turns out we need a nap during the afternoon. And historically, it seems we've always needed one. There is the Spanish concept of siesta. Italians call it riposo. If you go to China, you are likely many businesses shut down between 11:30 - 2:00 pm. They take a combination lunch and siesta before going back to work. Americans used to call it a power nap, but the research world calls this a nap zone.


We now know that a nap can profoundly influence productivity during the day. Mark Rosekind, a researcher who used to work for NASA - his job was training pilots - actually did an experiment. He allowed his pilots to take a 26-minute nap, then measured their productivity. He found that productivity increased 34% if he allowed his charges to take a nap. He has a really great quote "What other management strategy will improve people's performance 34% in just 26 minutes?" he is famous for saying. 

The research world calls this the nap zone. Other benefits have been found, mostly related to changes in memory performance. Both declarative and procedural memory tasks improve if you take a regular nap. One paper has the delightful title - and remember, this is a research paper "Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults. 

I have personal experience with this, and I bet you do too. When I don't take a nap in the mid-afternoon, I typically fight being drowsy from about 1:30 on. If I do take a nap in the mid-afternoon, just a small one, I suddenly get a burst of energy and an alertness that allows me to be productive the entire day. I am pleased to say this anecdotal information has strong empirical support.

Learn more about the importance of sleep

Get the updated and expanded edition of John Medina's NYT bestseller Brain Rules


Why we should all take a nap in the afternoon

July 17, 2014  |  Posted by Brain Rules | No Comments

Why we should all take a nap in the afternoon




Watch the video

It turns out we need a nap during the afternoon. And historically, it seems we've always needed one. There is the Spanish concept of siesta. Italians call it riposo. If you go to China, you are likely many businesses shut down between 11:30 - 2:00 pm. They take a combination lunch and siesta before going back to work. Americans used to call it a power nap, but the research world calls this a nap zone.


We now know that a nap can profoundly influence productivity during the day. Mark Rosekind, a researcher who used to work for NASA - his job was training pilots - actually did an experiment. He allowed his pilots to take a 26-minute nap, then measured their productivity. He found that productivity increased 34% if he allowed his charges to take a nap. He has a really great quote "What other management strategy will improve people's performance 34% in just 26 minutes?" he is famous for saying. 

The research world calls this the nap zone. Other benefits have been found, mostly related to changes in memory performance. Both declarative and procedural memory tasks improve if you take a regular nap. One paper has the delightful title - and remember, this is a research paper "Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults. 

I have personal experience with this, and I bet you do too. When I don't take a nap in the mid-afternoon, I typically fight being drowsy from about 1:30 on. If I do take a nap in the mid-afternoon, just a small one, I suddenly get a burst of energy and an alertness that allows me to be productive the entire day. I am pleased to say this anecdotal information has strong empirical support.

Learn more about the importance of sleep

Get the updated and expanded edition of John Medina's NYT bestseller Brain Rules


Brain Rules for Baby: Updated and Expanded!

June 8, 2014  |  Posted by Brain Rules | No Comments
Brain Rules for Baby has grown! The book now features a chapter on the science of sleep -- the No. 1 question parents ask Dr. Medina.

sleepy baby - new chapter
"How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?"








John Medina introduces the new sleep chapter: video



A note from John Medina

I was hesitant, I admit, about adding a sleep chapter to Brain Rules for Baby. The science about getting your child to go to sleep is fairly wobbly.

But you keep asking me about it. Whenever I lecture, whenever you write me, the question “How do I get my child to go to sleep?” keeps reappearing like a public-television fund-raiser.

I do understand your need for junior to get regular sleep. I know one couple who decided not to have any more children because of the toll their first-born’s sleep habits took on their marriage. The issue can’t get much more important than that.

So I get it. Here is your chapter.

Besides, the professor in me can’t help but want to show you how weak-kneed science can be when it’s yoked to real-world problems. Infant sleep is a terrific illustration of science’s strengths and limitations.

In the Sleepy Baby chapter, you will discover two powerful, opposing ideas about how to get your baby to go to sleep. They’re not mutually exclusive, but they don’t tolerate each other very well. Which one you end up believing depends more on personal preference than peer review. It would be nice if the data were better behaved, but they’re not.

I do provide a solution, however. If you are having trouble getting your child to go to sleep, you will find this chapter useful. And if it solves your problem, feelings of love for your child will once again expand in your heart, like a second Big Bang. That’s the most compelling reason for me to add a new chapter on sleep.

Get the book!

eBook (PDF)
Brain Rules for Baby Audiobook

Just want the sleep chapter? Get it here.

Each ebook comes in PDF format, which you can send to your Kindle or other reading device.

Become a fan of Brain Rules for Baby on Facebook.

P.S. Zero to Five by Tracy Cutchlow is due June 17th!


Brain Rules for Baby: Updated and Expanded!

June 8, 2014  |  Posted by Brain Rules | No Comments
Brain Rules for Baby has grown! The book now features a chapter on the science of sleep -- the No. 1 question parents ask Dr. Medina.

sleepy baby - new chapter
"How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?"








John Medina introduces the new sleep chapter: video



A note from John Medina

I was hesitant, I admit, about adding a sleep chapter to Brain Rules for Baby. The science about getting your child to go to sleep is fairly wobbly.

But you keep asking me about it. Whenever I lecture, whenever you write me, the question “How do I get my child to go to sleep?” keeps reappearing like a public-television fund-raiser.

I do understand your need for junior to get regular sleep. I know one couple who decided not to have any more children because of the toll their first-born’s sleep habits took on their marriage. The issue can’t get much more important than that.

So I get it. Here is your chapter.

Besides, the professor in me can’t help but want to show you how weak-kneed science can be when it’s yoked to real-world problems. Infant sleep is a terrific illustration of science’s strengths and limitations.

In the Sleepy Baby chapter, you will discover two powerful, opposing ideas about how to get your baby to go to sleep. They’re not mutually exclusive, but they don’t tolerate each other very well. Which one you end up believing depends more on personal preference than peer review. It would be nice if the data were better behaved, but they’re not.

I do provide a solution, however. If you are having trouble getting your child to go to sleep, you will find this chapter useful. And if it solves your problem, feelings of love for your child will once again expand in your heart, like a second Big Bang. That’s the most compelling reason for me to add a new chapter on sleep.

Get the book!

eBook (PDF)
Brain Rules for Baby Audiobook

Just want the sleep chapter? Get it here.

Each ebook comes in PDF format, which you can send to your Kindle or other reading device.

Become a fan of Brain Rules for Baby on Facebook.

P.S. Zero to Five by Tracy Cutchlow is due June 17th!


To fans of the Brain Rules books

May 21, 2014  |  Posted by Brain Rules | No Comments
As John Medina’s editor, I worked closely with him to shape Brain Rules and then Brain Rules for Baby. It’s been a thrill to watch both books climb onto the bestseller lists while getting rave reviews from you. I’m grateful for the books on a personal level as well. I imagine you feel the same way.

Brain Rules for Baby is the one book I asked my husband to read before our baby was born. (I even considered threatening that we couldn’t have a baby until he read it.)

Then our baby arrived.

I wanted to revisit some of the things I’d learned, but suddenly I had no time for long books. And while I understood why doing this or that was beneficial for baby’s brain, I still had questions about how. (Speak 2,100 words an hour to your baby? Seriously? How?) I dug back into the original research. Thus, my new book, Zero to Five, was born. I’d love to tell you about it.

Zero to Five has exhausted new parents in mind


  • how to give baby’s brain a boost—including specific language you can use or actions you can take.
  • bite-sized information in a clean design. Flip the book open to any page and you’ll get something out of it.
  • spiral-bound, so it stays open. You can read while holding baby, or keep your place when you get interrupted two minutes later.
  • anecdotes from my first two years with baby, just to liven things up (I made it—phew!)
  • beautiful photographs of real families. These make Zero to Five a truly special book.


I’m excited to share this book with my fellow Brain Rules fans. It’s due June 17.

Want a sneak peak of the book, free? Click the yellow "free tips" button at www.zerotofive.net.


Tracy Cutchlow is the editor of the bestselling books Brain Rules for Baby and Brain Rules. As a journalist, she has worked for MSN Money and the Seattle Times. She lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter.

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