health and nutrition

5 ways naps will increase your productivity –

Many do not know that napping increases productivity. I started napping a few years back when I left a full time job that was very engaging all 24 hours. I found that my most productive hours were around the early hours of the morning which incidentally is when I wake up from sleep. By late morning I have started to slow down. If I stay the course, I burnout by late afternoon. My concentration is often very low by 3PM and I am not even good company. All kinds of trivia begin to get my attention. I found however, that if I take a nap, I get back into shape and produce more than I do if I keep pushing.  If you think this a bad idea, don’t take my word for it.  Here is a list of famous folks who took their naps seriously;

  • Leonardo da Vinci took multiple naps a day and slept less at night.
  • The French Emperor Napoleon was not shy about taking naps. He indulged daily.
  • Physicist Albert Einstein napped each day—on top of getting ten hours of sleep each night.
  • Though Thomas Edison was embarrassed about his napping habit, he also practiced his ritual daily.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, used to boost her energy by napping before speaking engagements.
  • Gene Autry, “the Singing Cowboy,” routinely took naps in his dressing room between performances.
  • President John F. Kennedy ate his lunch in bed and then settled in for a nap—every day!
  • Oil industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller napped every afternoon in his office.
  • Winston Churchill’s afternoon nap was a nonnegotiable. He believed it helped him get twice as much done each day.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson took a nap every afternoon at 3:30 p.m. to break his day up into “two shifts.”
  • Though criticized for it, President Ronald Reagan famously took naps as well.

 

“The secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time; it’s managing your energy.

It is possible these great know something you don’t. Here are 5 benefits of napping I picked up from Michael Hyatt’s article

  1.  A nap restores alertness. You know how your energy dips in the early afternoon? You start feeling a little sleepy and lose focus. It happens to most of us. A quick nap can bring us back up to speed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of twenty to thirty minutes “for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”
  2. A nap prevents burnout. In our always-on culture, we go, go, go. However, we were not meant to race without rest. Doing so leads to stress, frustration, and burnout. Taking a nap is like a system reboot. It relieves stress and gives you a fresh start. Research subjects who nap show greater emotional resilience, improved cognitive function, and more. Just thirty minutes can prevent the day’s wear and tear from frying your circuits.
  3. A nap heightens sensory perception. According to Dr. Sara C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing, and taste. Napping also improves your creativity by relaxing your mind and allowing new associations to form in it. When it came to making new connections, nappers had the edge in research done by the City University of New York.
  4. A nap reduces the risk of heart disease. Did you know those who take a midday siesta at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? Working men are 64 percent less likely! It’s true, according to a 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. “Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality,” said Dimitrios Trichopoulos of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study.
  5. A nap makes you more productive. The secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time; it’s managing your energy. Numerous studies have shown workers becoming increasingly unproductive as the day wears on. Just think of your own experience. But a 2002 Harvard University study demonstrated a thirty-minute nap boosted the performance of workers, returning their productivity to beginning-of-the-day levels.

Productivity is but the outworking of a state. If a nap brings you to that state then you really should have one. I often say in my workshops that high performance often comes out of effortlessness. Never out of struggle. Sometimes when I am struggling with something, I simply take a nap. When I come back, problem solved. It works for me every time. It is important that you understand your body enough to know when to get the best out of it. In this series I am exploring ways in which you can be more productive in your occupation and larger life and I have loads of material to share with you. Stay tuned and share this with someone.

Low Sexual Performance and the Okro Myth

”Madam, I can’t take Okro” the man exclaimed in objection to my suggestion that Okro was beneficial to his health.  I made sure to extol the benefits of Okro as a wonderful vegetable he could include in his healthy diet plan. He looked at me perplexed as though I had threatened to harm his mother. The stark reality of how much people had bought into the misconception about Okro stared me in the face.


‘Why?’ I asked concerned, waiting to hear the usual tale of ‘Okro and low sexual performance.’ I wondered how much nutrients people took for granted at what is frankly one of my favourite vegetables. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and whispered in embarrassment.

”I have heard it gives excessive phlegm, waist pain..and…hmmm affects performance.”


Okro or Okra (aka Lady’s Fingers) is the stuff a Dietitian’s dreams are made off. To say Okro is nutritious and offers numerous health benefits would be like saying ‘the sun is hot’ you simply can’t do enough justice to the statement. Its health benefits read like something out of a Nutrition book’s ‘Hall of Fame’


From its anti-diabetic properties, rich nutrient value ( high vitamin C, foliate, potassium, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals), excellent weight reducing properties (due to its rich fibre content and low calories) to its cancer preventing properties ( rich in antioxidants), promotion of colon health (prevents constipation) and relief from respiratory problems ( such as asthma). The list is endless. 
Surprised? Just read on.
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It also boasts of its ability to boost one’s mood and prevents depression and is also known to give a smooth and beautiful skin with protection from pimples. Ancient history has it that Cleopatra; the ancient Egyptian queen who was celebrated for her beauty was noted to be a great fan of Okro. (Oh spare us. You like Sources too much, everything Source! *laughs*)


Okro is found in dishes and cuisines all over the world. It is consumed in the US, Western Europe, Caribbean, Greece, Turkey, India, South America.  In Ghana, it is eaten mostly in stew or soup preparations and found to be engrained in the traditional dishes of most Ghanaian tribes. However, in spite of its versatility and benefits, Okro has not entered into the good books of some people, chiefly to blame is the myth surrounding it.


It’s slimy nature has served as a turn off for some people and had led to negative speculations about its nature. Interestingly, it’s slimy (mucilage) nature lowers cholesterol and serves as a lubricant and laxative for the intestinal tract.


Still in doubt? Then you account for a part of the school of thought that supports the notion that Okro has negative implications on reproductive health and result in impotence.

Below is my last set of facts about Okro. If you still are not convinced, then …

Okra’s high level of vitamins notably vitamin C and folate help prevent birth defects and it’s highly beneficial for a pregnant woman and her baby. Okro has also been recommended for years for use as a natural aphrodisiac and researchers have found that the folate in Okro as well as its other numerous minerals and vitamins enhance sperm quality.


Well….let’s just say the jury is out there…as well as hard scientific facts. Let conduct a purely subjective exercise. Shall we?

1.      Make a list of all the Ghanaian tribes who have had Okro as part and parcel of their traditional dishes for centuries.

2.      Have we noticed any desirable traits about the indigenes that we could link to the benefits of their regular intake of Okro? and finally

3.      Do you eat Okro?

4.      What has been your experience?  We will be happy to hear from you

Meanwhile, as you to ponder over these questions, I am off to get a huge bowl of Okro Soup with ‘Banku’. You are surely invited.

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The Writer is Dede Kwadjo, a Dietician/Nutritionist and a member of the Ghana Dietetics Association. She lives in Accra, Ghana. You may reach her directly via Dede.kwadjo@gmail.com

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