Fitness, Personal Development

Snooze Now, ConQuer Later

I can remember taking ‘power naps’ in college. At very random times of day, I would just lay down for a few minutes between classes. My posse back then often did the same. We’d say, “I need a 10.” It was our code for nap time. Just 10-20 minutes is all that was needed. I remember feeling so much better afterwards. Naps really work. I steal one every now and then these days, but its not my habit. Maybe it should be. A quick glance through history books reveals a long line of influential nappers. Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Thomas Edison were all known to take naps.

Their decision, it turns out, is backed by science.

Napping and productivity

The benefits of getting enough sleep are widely acknowledged, but why choose naps instead of catching more Zs at night? The simple answer is that it makes the second part of your day as productive as the first. About an hour after waking is considered our most productive time. Even if you consider yourself a night-owl, chances are your cognitive abilities are sharper after some shut-eye. It is more than common sense. It is science.

In a review of the many studies conducted on napping, Dr. Catherine Milner and Dr. Kimberly A. Cote find a host of productivity-related benefits. Napping improves reaction time, psychomotor speed, vigor, and vigilance. In one [study}(, participants saw their ability to complete additional tasks improve post-nap and in another, retirees saw improvements in episodic memory, visuospatial abilities, and general cognition. Yet another study on memory found that working-aged people were able to perform recall tasks better after a nap when compared to drinking coffee. The nap doesn’t need to be long: even a six-minute micro-nap improves declarative memory.

Napping and learning

Sleep is known to help consolidate memory and contribute to learning, but some scientists say the same benefits can be reaped from naps. Dr. Sara Mednick looks at how sleep impacts learning. In a 2003 study, she found that a 90-minute snooze is just about as good for learning perceptual skills as a full eight hours. Even better, the power of a nap adds to the learning potential experienced during regular sleeping hours.

Participants who napped in addition to their regular sleep schedule experienced “improvement, such that performance over 24 hours showed as much learning as is normally seen after twice that length of time.” The research suggests that if you’re struggling with complex learning tasks, a nap can help.

Napping and health

We know that getting enough sleep is important for overall health, but there is also evidence that napping, in particular, is a healthy habit. A 2016 study by the European Society of Cardiology compared the health of 386 patients with arterial hypertension to see how napping might impact their health.

Those that took mid-day naps had lower blood pressure and anatomical evidence of less blood pressure related damage. Napping was also associated with fewer medication prescriptions.

The benefits extend into real-world results. In a longitudinal study of over 23,000 healthy people, nappers had a much lower rate of coronary mortality. Those who napped occasionally had a 12% lower coronary mortality rate, while those who napped often had a 37% percent lower rate.

Towards a culture of napping

Napping is becoming popular because it is easier to coordinate than a full eight hours of blissfully uninterrupted shut-eye at night. Work hours are long and time with our families is precious. A twenty-minute nap can be slotted in between meetings or a longer snooze can take place over lunch, leaving free time at home to be spent on hobbies or with loved ones.

In China, public napping is commonplace. “It’s nothing unusual,” Chinese journalist Lorraine Lu writes. “If you get tired, you just put a cushion or pillow on your desk, lay your head on it and rest for 15 minutes.”

Aside from the workplace, subways and even Ikea are fair game. The same is true of several other Asia countries, and the afternoon siesta is a time-honored condition in many Spanish-speaking nations.

Though the United States is yet to catch up, some companies are coming around to the idea of corporate nap time. A 2011 poll found that 34% of respondents were allowed to nap at work and hundreds of sleep pods are popping up in offices, hospitals, and schools around the country.

If you aren’t one of the Americans already taking naps, there is no time like the present.

*credit belongs to Erin Wildermuth and the team at for doing the heavy lifting on this article


Performance Enhancers You Need Now

People everywhere are looking for an edge. We’ve heard stories of the illegal performance enhancing drugs athletes have taken to get ahead of their competition. Doping scandals in cycling, steroids in baseball and football, and all kinds of crazy stuff in bodybuilding are what most of us think about when we hear the term “performance enhancers.”

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to be tempted by performance enhancement though. Have you seen the ads for magic potions you can take to boost your energy, stay alert longer, improve mental clarity? These products are marketed to you and me – regular people who feel exhausted and just want to keep up with the demands on our time and energy, let alone excel at our roles of spouse, parent, worker, weekend warrior, etc.


If you are like me, you aren’t likely going for illegal substances to keep sharp, but maybe you’ve been tempted to pop a pill or take some elixir to gain the edge you desire.

Well, I have some good news weary friend! We don’t need illegal substances, controlled substances, or so called energy potions to help us through our busy days. We can be our best by incorporating a few simple disciplines into our daily life.



We need to rest. 7-8 hours of sleep per night is recommended. You are laughing because that hasn’t happened for you in a long time. But why not? I challenge you to review your schedule and see where you can change your routine to get the rest you need. Chances are, you don’t need to watch that late game, movie, or TV drama. If you are just vegging in the evenings, I suggest cutting that short and going to bed. I wrote earlier about HOW TO SLEEP, and if you are looking for some rest for your weary soul, I covered that topic HERE.  Bottom line is that if you want to be sharp, you need to rest. Schedule it in your day like any other important appointment.


I’m willing to bet you don’t drink enough water. Most of us don’t. There is a simple way to know if you are well hydrated. Look at the color of your urine. The more clear it is, the more hydrated you are. Being hydrated wards off common headaches, grumpiness, and a long list of physical ailments that keep you from being your best. Proper hydration = better performance.


“I don’t have time to exercise!” Baloney. You don’t have time to SKIP exercise. Regular vigorous exercise is so good for you. It’s a natural mood booster, gives mental alertness & clarity, and actually energizes you for the day. Morning or mid-day exercises will help you power through your work day like nothing else. Besides, what good can you be in your most important roles at home and work if your body is a wreck and you are sick all the time? Take care of your body, and it will take care of you – and enhance your performance.

Balanced Diet

“Ugh. You had to mention food.” Yep. Food is fuel and your body is a finely tuned MACHINE. The fastest way to get physical results in your shape is through proper nutrition. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to follow the latest fad diet or starve yourself or spend a fortune on fancy produce to eat healthy. What you need is to eat reasonable portion sizes, more veggies, less cake and beer, and you will be shocked at how much better you feel. When you feel great, performance is enhanced – naturally.

BB Performance

OK, so there is this one thing. Sometimes we could use a quality supplement to our healthy lifestyle. I found the Beachbody Performance line to be just that. With real food all natural ingredients, these supplements taste great and help my body perform optimally.


Personal Development/ Journaling

You’ve got to feed your mind and soul as well as your body. Taking time daily to read and reflect on something positive and encouraging (hmmm, the Team Quadzilla blog…) will go a long way to keeping you sharp and performing your best. The inputs to our mind dramatically impact our mood and attitude.  I find great encouragement in journaling. It doesn’t sound very manly, but let me tell you it is super healthy. If you want to leave a positive legacy for the next generation, I encourage you to journal your thoughts, prayers, fears, dreams, and happenings in your life. Those who come behind you might be encouraged by your writing. Journaling also helps to clear your head, reflect, and focus your mind for the day. It’s an exercise worth doing daily.

So there you have it. Nothing earth shattering here, but that’s kinda the point. Healthy living is not supposed to be complicated. We still need to actually DO these things though. Start with one and move on from there. You want to be your best and many others are counting on you as well. Maybe these simple reminders will inspire you to make a change today.


How To Sleep


We spend about 1/3 of our life asleep. So why are many of us still so tired?

People are more exhausted today than ever before. Our exhaustion has spawned an entire field of science to study sleep. Believe it or not, you can even hire a sleep coach! Sleep is now a $7 Billion a year industry.

I’m no sleep coach for hire, but I’ve done some research and learned a few things from my own experience that help me to sleep well. Not surprisingly, I learned that we are our own worst enemy when it comes to sleeping well. We are actually doing it all wrong. That’s funny. We can’t even sleep right! Maybe some of the following sleep tips can help you get that elusive restful sleep you desire. Because we should all be good at sleeping!

Pillow(s) – First of all, how old is your pillow? If it is more than a couple years old, you really should replace it. Old pillows are disgusting. I won’t tell you which pillow to buy, but you should get one to match your natural sleep position.

Mattress – Remember, you spend 1/3 of your life on the mattress so you should be comfortable. Good mattresses can be expensive, but they are a worthwhile investment. Plan for a new mattress every 7-10 years despite what the manufacturer says about their durability.

Pajamas – There is some interesting research on this one. Science says that your body goes thru some amazing regenerative processes in sleep. To optimize your comfort, Choose pajama fabrics carefully. For a female perspective, here’s how to know if your bedtime clothing choices are truly helping your body or actually causing one big nightmare. The bottom line is ultimately your personal comfort. Wear whatever makes you feel the most relaxed. If you have trouble sleeping, changing what you normally wear might help.

Keep it coolRoom temperature is an important factor. Various sources suggest keeping the temp between 60-67°F at night to optimize sleep. So save some money on your winter utility bill and turn down the heat overnight.

Darker the better – Your bedroom needs to be dark to optimize sleep. Use blackout shades, dark curtains, blinds, etc. as necessary to ensure your room stays dark while you sleep.

Eyes off the screen – Want to really sabotage your sleep? Keep right on with the TV watching and trolling social media on your electronic devices right before bed. The blue light messes up your sleep sensors. So shut it down 30-60 minutes before bed. Pick up a real book instead. Maybe use this time to talk with your spouse. Don’t get into heavy topics though. Keep it light.

Snack Time – This was a big one for me since I have acid reflux issues. Laying horizontal with a full belly is recipe for lousy sleep. While some argue late night snacks lead to weight gain, it is not always true. It depends what you eat, portion size, etc. For me,  cutting off eating & drinking anything about 3 hours before bed works well. So if you have stomach issues at night, or you are trying anything to improve sleep, give this tip a try.

Add some noise – If you find yourself being awakened in the night by outside noises (ugh, blasted train!), I recommend enlisting the help of a fan or some other white noise maker that can run all night. There are even free phone apps with a variety of sounds to suit you. I use the app when I travel, otherwise we have a fan at home that MUST be on to drown out the train.

ExerciseA good workout can help you get great sleep. Your body craves the work and rewards you with good sleep. So get your sweat on for 30 mins a day to improve your fitness and help you sleep.

Stay on schedule – Our bodies love routine. Much like young children, adults function best when there is some routine. So get to bed at the same time every night to optimize your sleep quality. Of course that means you should get up at the same time every day as well. Yep, that includes weekends.

So there you have it. My ten tips to help you sleep better. Surely there are many other tips to great sleep, so comment below to share what works for you.