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Good news: Many studies recommend downtime for increased productivity

woman on beanbag chairIt's fitting to be flagging a Scientific American article on the benefits of quality-of-life-enhancing practices such as time away from work, mindfulness meditation, and nature walks as I prepare to attend an intensive yoga-teacher training workshop called "Sensation: The Language of the Body." (For the record, though, practicing authentic movement is more challenging for me than solving a calculus problem.) Okay, yogini, but how can rest from the daily grind affect, say, physicians?

From the piece:

In a 2002 study by Rebecca Smith-Coggins of Stanford University and her colleagues, 26 physicians and nurses working three consecutive 12-hour night shifts napped for 40 minutes at 3 A.M. while 23 of their colleagues worked continuously without sleeping. Although doctors and nurses that had napped scored lower than their peers on a memory test at 4 A.M., at 7:30 A.M. they outperformed the no-nap group on a test of attention, more efficiently inserted a catheter in a virtual simulation and were more alert during an interactive simulation of driving a car home.

The article reviews much research on a variety of topics and offers a good amount of context - including the siesta's roots in the Roman Catholic Church - so fluff a bean bag chair, sign out of your work e-mail, and ease in to a good read.

Previously: Using mindfulness interventions to help reduce physician burnoutStudy finds less time worked not always linked to happiness, Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions about willpower and tools to reach our goals, Companies add nap rooms to perk up workers, boost productivity and Do siestas make you smarter?
Photo by Bekathwia

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