Slumber Party in the Dark

When the clock hits 12, darkness begins wrapping the place and people vanish one… by one… by one…

Photo grabbed from D1978C via Flickr

Photo grabbed from D1978C via Flickr

Nah. It’s not some horror story.

 

My work’s office has an unusual lunch break culture. Instead of the usual break time, most employees start going to the pantry or outside to eat lunch at around 11:30am, then go back to their workstations afterward to take care of some personal stuff. Then once the lights go off at exactly 12nn, they take their naps, which they do either by resting their heads on their desks with their arms as pillows or by lying on the back of their chairs, then when the lights are turned on at exactly 1pm, they wake up all ready to face their works.

 

When I was new in the company, I found this everyday habit completely awesome on the part of the employers since they allow total relaxation for their employees. But as months passed, I realized that it is not only for the benefit of the latter but also of the former. It is a two-way street after all.

 

Napping has a lot of advantages especially for workers and employers, whom all the jobs are being done for. Wondering what I mean? You better read on:
 

Photo grabbed from Zerteh via Flickr

Photo grabbed from Zerteh via Flickr

1. It makes us more alert

It’s official from a NASA research: Napping, though it’s not as long as sleeping, boosts alertness by 100%. Another study also shows that a nap as a break makes a person more alert and active compared to before the rest happened.

 

2. It promotes faster learning and better memory

Need to pay attention to your work? Taking a nap before attacking that hard task has an amazing result of helping you focus and keeping your memory working properly.

 

Photo grabbed from marcinbunsch via Flickr

Photo grabbed from marcinbunsch via Flickr

3. It helps avoid suffering from information overload

If you’re piled up with a lot of tasks, never do the mistake of not getting some nap. According to studies, failing to rest leads to decrease of productivity. So it’s better to take a short nap to have your mind refreshed.

 

4. It gets your creativity and senses going

A scientist in the name of Sara C. Mednick revealed it: Taking a nap is as good as a good night sleep when it comes to sensory perception. It also boosts creativity as it untangles the knots in overlapping ideas and binds the related ones at the same time.

 

Photo grabbed from Hilali via Flickr

Photo grabbed from Hilali via Flickr

5. It is good for the health

Lack of sleep is never good as it increases the cortisol hormone in the body. Cortisol is not bad, as it helps us deal with stress, but an excess of it leads to glucose intolerance and abdominal fat, it undermines muscular and immune systems, blocks memory and learning, and reduces levels of growth hormone and testosterone in the body, which can all cause diabetes and heart attack. Tsktsk. There’s just too much that can happen to our health if we don’t take that short, sweet nap.

 

6. It improves our mood

I have proved this numerous times. I am often so groggy and irritated in the morning, but after napping during lunch break, I am already feeling okay, I laugh, smile, and am very much ready for the rest of the day.

Well, that is because of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that handles our moods, sleep, and appetite. But during lack of sleep or stressing moments, the body uses more serotonin and it also stops producing it. The aftermath, then, is that we are caught in a bad mood.

 

Photo grabbed from fiatlux via Flickr

Photo grabbed from fiatlux via Flickr

7. It is budget friendly

Which is better, paying for something or getting it absolutely free? I am almost sure that everyone would choose the latter. If we get a cup of coffee, we spend for it, while decreasing our memory’s performance, but if we just take a nap, we get to energize ourselves not just for free, but also in a natural way! Isn’t way better? 🙂

 
 

Taking a nap is not just like that, though. Follow these simple napping tips from Dr Mednick for a more effective one:

 

1. Stick to a regular schedule

Ideal napping time is from 1pm to 3pm, but for people like me whose only break is from 12nn to 1pm, I get to sleep only within that time. I think it’s okay, as long as I stick to that schedule.

 

2. Naps should be quick

When we take a nap, we do it quickly, otherwise, it may already be called a sleep. The ideal duration is 30 minutes or less so make sure to set your alarm. In my case, I start resting my head at 12:30pm, so when it is 1pm and the lights are on, I wake up.

 

Photo grabbed from ♥♥♥ Fufue ♥♥♥ via Flickr

Photo grabbed from ♥♥♥ Fufue ♥♥♥ via Flickr

3. Do it in the dark

The reason is simple: It helps us fall asleep faster. If you can’t turn off the lights in your office, you can opt to wear an eye mask.

 

4. Be in a warm place

Our body temperature drops when we sleep, so Dr Mednick advised this or at least bring and use a blanket. But if you’re living in a tropical country like the Philippines, this is a bad idea, otherwise, you’ll wake up drenched in sweat.

 

 

I always say that when it is lunch break, I really take a break. And people should really give me a break. So for that precious hour, I toss away my work load and relax, either by eating outside the office or taking a nap right after munching my lunch in the pantry. I especially do the latter when I know that I will be needing that extra energy to work my mind for my current task.

You should take a nap, too, during your lunch break even though your office doesn’t have the same culture as ours. It’ll help you big time in finishing a quality assignment or two. Well, of course, it’ll not only benefit you, but the company you’re working for as well. 😉

 
 
 

Sources:
Art of Manliness
WebMD

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And I Sing La-La-La…

Today is All Souls’ Day.

But no, I’m too unconventional to be narrating a ghost story or two, I leave that to people who have heaps of it. I’m into a different kind of horror. That horror that gives one the urge to run away fast, screaming, to the farthest they can go to, or cover their ears while silently pleading they can disappear like bubble. The horror that makes others camouflage and choose to keep quiet in fear that they’ll get caught and exposed, while some who have lots of guts put their lives at risk.

I’m talking about singing and hearing someone not so blessed do it. WAHAHA.

 

Kidding aside, do you feel better whenever you sing (Despite other people’s angry stare at you or laughs)? Well, you should be for studies show that singing has health advantages physically, mentally, and socially.

Karaoke night at Leonardo’s Bar and Restaurant, Antipolo with high-school friends after attending a friend’s wedding

Singing’s physical benefits are the following:
– It is an aerobic activity so it exercises the heart and lungs
– It tones the intercostal muscles and diaphragm
– It tones the muscles in the face (With the way we sing with full-blast emotions)
– It improves posture (When singing from the diaphragm)
– It opens sinuses and respiratory tubes wider
– It strengthens the immune system, thus helps our bodies fight diseases

Then the psychological benefits are:
– It makes the body produce endorphins, the happy hormones, thus:
        a. it relieves stress
        b. it reduces anger, depression, and anxiety
        c. it makes us feel contented
        d. it is energizing
        e. it promotes positivity
        f. it uplifts us spiritually
– It boosts self-esteem and confidence
– It nurtures creativity
– It improves memory and concentration (probably because of the lyrics)

Late Christmas Party with my former colleagues at Music Match Revolution Family KTV, Ortigas Home Depot (Photo by Champy Cachola)

Lastly, its social benefits are:
– It bonds people
– It opens doors to giving and receiving feedbacks
– It promotes fun and lots of laughter

What more can one ask for in a single, pleasurable, and worthwhile activity?

 

Filipinos love singing and most are great at it. This is evident on the karaoke bars or KTVs that sprout all over the country, and the number of our countrymen, half or not, who stand out on international singing contests. And now we know why we are regarded as happy people.

Bonding time with former officemates at Center Stage Family KTV & Resto Bar, Bel-Air, Makati (Photo by Champy Cachola)

I, myself, enjoy singing so much that I do it for about 30 minutes from the moment my father opens our home’s gate when I arrive from work. There’s just something about it that after a while always makes me do it at the top of my lungs–which I call a concert–that my younger brother–whenever he’s home around that time–always annoyingly tells me to stop soon. Little did I know that it is actually because of the endorphins that my body releases whenever I sing. It’s something that’s perfect after a stressful and exhausting day at work.

Of course, it’s more exhilarating when I finally get hold of a karaoke machine’s microphone and I can sing a song not only with accompaniments, but also with full interpretation of the song itself like I’m a real singer in front of a large crowd.

So next time you’re feeling down, just sing–sing with all your heart. You may be in horror of getting yourself in peril from people trying to throw things at you for doing it, but at least, deep inside you know you’re feeling terrific. Surely the menace of some cans, bottles, and other stuff hitting your head is nothing compared to the benefits singing can offer you. 😉

Karaoke time until who-knows-what-time-of-the-mornight-it-was at the nipa hut located on the rooftop of the Nualla Residence (Photo grabbed from Yuko Konishi-Legaspi)

A word of advice, though. If you are broken hearted, never ever listen to or sing any heart-breaking songs. ‘Cause instead of making you feel better, it’ll leave you a wreck, a lot worse than before you started humming the single. Tsk tsk tsk.

Happy singing! 😀

 

 

———–

Incidentally, Yahoo! News Philippines reported October 30, 2012 about  a casket equipped with a karaoke machine. Manufactured by R.G. Nogoy Casket  from Pampanga, the coffin will serve as a “gimmick to surprise guests and lighten the mood of solemn funerals or Halloween parties.” For the full story, click here.  (Photo grabbed from Yahoo! News Philippines and is owned by Cheryl Ravero/REUTERS)

Sources:
More Singing Please
The Huffington Post
Heart Research UK