Saturday, August 9, 2014

Your Brain on Naps

One day, while in the U.S this past spring, I had a challenging morning. We met with an accountant to get some advice about how best to to continue our bookkeeping. It went really well, and I loved Dara, but the stress of looking over our records left me exhausted and with a killer backache.

I decided to rest for a little while. Just before I did that though, I wanted to find my iPhone. I looked all over and couldn't find it. I was a little worried. Since it didn't work as a phone while in the States I couldn't call it to find it by the ringing. Like Scarlett, I decided to 'think about that later'.

I lay down with a book and it wasn't long before I began to doze off.

Napping is a wonderful thing. Did you know that Thomas Edison got very little sleep at night, but he kept himself energized by taking power naps? And he wasn't alone. Many famous people used this strategy.

After attending my sister's wedding in Dallas last April, we drove back to Houston the long way so Timmy could see his girlfriend and Tom could meet her for the first time. Tom was exhausted from the wedding so I did the majority of the driving. At one point I was so tired I couldn't see straight any more so I pulled into a gas station, set my timer for 15 minutes and fell asleep. When my timer went off I pulled back onto the road completely refreshed. Power naps are amazing!

Anyway, when I lay down that particular spring day in Houston I read for a few minutes and then fell asleep. When I relaxed enough into the nap that I couldn't hold onto the book anymore it fell from my hand and hit the floor noisily waking me up. In that exact moment I knew where my phone was! The truly amazing thing was, I actually woke up and saw in my mind's eye where my phone was as the book was falling, which upon hiting the floor made the noise which woke me which causes all sorts of confusion about what came first, the chicken or the egg, the noise or the waking, etc. Since I'm not a Time Lord I will leave that one be....

Last month Tom misplaced a bag full of notebooks. He was distressed about it because he'd promised to pass them out to the police officers during the Mutomboko Ceremony. If he couldn't find them he'd be terribly embarrassed. We all pitched in to help find them. However, they were nowhere to be found. I encouraged Tom to stop thinking about it and just go to sleep. We'd check with the kids in the morning to see if they had seen the bag when helping to unload the car. Otherwise, there was really nothing we could do.
A few minutes after Tom fell asleep he woke up again, walked into the office, picked up a flashlight, and walked straight to the top shelf of his clothes closet and pushed aside some shirts to reveal the bag of notebooks.
He still has no memory of placing them there.

It seems that in order for our subconscious mind to work efficiently, we need to get the conscious mind out of the way.

I feel there is a metaphor there someplace…….

Have you had any Amazing Brain episodes? Tell me about them!


  1. I take power naps all the time. Sleeping is healing. Sometimes my brain feels like it's dying then I tell Craig, I need to take 5.... It nearly always goes to 15 or 20 min, but then I have power to plow on like never before....

  2. Heather EslingerAugust 13, 2014

    I'm always misplacing things! I'll have to try a power nap....hmmm. Kids go back to school tomorrow so maybe I'll be a bit more refreshed and less flustered....maybe not. But maybe i'll at least get more blogging done.

    Thanks for sharing your Africa/Ebola map. I had been thinking of you all...wondering. Prays go up all the time for the crisis. Hope your computer gets fixed!!


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