Siesta Health Benefits (Say Hola to Your Next Power Nap) 20 Minutes- Productively Healthy

What time is it? Es hora de una Siesta.

It is indeed.

The Spanish take power naps everyday after their afternoon meals. They call these power naps ‘Siestas‘ and they might actually be onto something…

I don’t know about you, but personally my energy levels throughout the day go like this:

Pretty high in the morning.

Pretty low in the afternoon.

Pretty high in the evening.

And I got this off of Google Images by searching ‘energy levels throughout the day graph’- So I can’t be the only one.

In fact, I’m not the only one.

This is actually a common phenomenon known as ‘That 2 o’clock feeling’.

This mid-day fatigue is a result of our bodies producing a load of melatonin (a sleep inducing hormone) from around 2pm-4pm.

As a result, we usually decide to fight through this battle period by one of the following options: a) will power alone, b) a caffeine hit, or c) we don’t fight it at all… We take a Siesta!

“Non-resistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe”- Eckhart Tolle

Yes, Eckhart.

Letting go of fighting this tiredness and unleashing the power of the so-rightly named ‘Power Nap’.

But there’s more…

Not only do Siestas or Power Naps increase your energy, they come with a tonne of health benefits too! 

Including the following:

I know what you’re thinking,

“It’s hard! How do I find time slap-bang in the middle of the day for sleeping!?”

And obviously, you’ve got a point. For most, mid-day power napping would be less of a daydream and more of a nightmare…

1 hour lunch break: Run home from work (-10 minutes). Hit the sack (-20 minutes). fix hair (-10 minutes). Eat lunch (-10 minutes). Run back to work (-10 minutes).

See! it’s do-able…

For those of you who can’t power nap, it’s best to avoid napping and get a solid sleeping routine down which stays (roughly) the same on the weekends. This will maximise sleep effectiveness because your body will get into a rhythm of the same sleeping pattern.

Similarly, if you can nap, it’s best to make it a daily routine so your body knows to nap, at that particular time, every day (2pm recommended for the most benefits).

If you are one of the selected few who can Siesta, take advantage of it. 

You’d be loco not to.

What are your opinions/experiences on napping? On the Spanish Siesta?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Cold: Cold Showers and Testosterone Levels – Productively Healthy

 

A simple switch. Warm and cosy, to freakin’ cold and death-like.

Every morning when stepping into my cold shower, my brain fires up the same question – How can this possibly be good for me?!

It’s painful- it is. But it’s worth it.

As you have probably heard, cold showers are incredibly beneficial in many ways: increased alertness, increased muscle recovery, increased weight-loss, and improved mental resilience- to name a few.

Today, we’re going to dive into the hormonal benefits of cold showers.

In particular, testosterone.

And women don’t get put off! Increased testosterone will not give you a female Derek Poundstone-like appearance. Unless you are seriously supplementing…

Why would anyone want increased testosterone levels?

Here’s a list:

  • Improved heart health and circulation
  • Increased muscle synthesis
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased bone-density
  • Better mood
  • Higher libido
  • Improves sleep
  • And there’s even some evidence suggesting that higher testosterone improves your memory

*When naturally increased*

What’s not to love?

It’s ideal that one simple switch, which doesn’t take up any extra time in the day, can yield so many health benefits.

So let’s look at some of the research behind this painfully-beneficial-little-health-hack:

  1. In 1993 a study was conducted by the Thrombosis Research Institution of England which identified a correlation between individuals who take cold showers regularly and higher testosterone levels.
  2. In this study we can see how sperm concentration, quality and motility is higher in the colder months of the year.
  3. In another study where rats were exposed to temperatures of 43 °C for 15 minutes, there testosterone levels significantly dropped compared to the control group.
  4. This one’s not hard-evidence, but here’s a video of Paul Chek discussing the benefits of cold showers and how they “improve your sex life”.

There’s also tonnes of personal anecdotes online, all telling the same story: how taking cold showers is so beneficial to your lifestyle by boosting your testosterone and giving you all the benefits listed above.

James Bond took cold showers, Jonny Wilkinson did too…

Maybe it’s time we all took a cold shower- that is, if you have a licence to chill?

Sorry, that was terrible…

What have your experiences with cold showers/ice baths been like?

Do you agree with the research?

Because there’s a lot of controversy online about whether the claims are over-hyped.

Testing cold showers out is a great idea even if you’re doubtful.

You never know until you try.

The Beginning

We’re up and running.

Welcome to Productively Healthy!

What is this blog about?

Well… health!

But health from a standpoint that looks at the optimal ways of living a healthy lifestyle.

What tweaks can we make to our daily lives to maintain health?

What are the optimal times to exercise for fat loss?

How can I get away with twenty minutes of training a day and still improve my VO2 max?

The ‘productive’ part comes into play because we will be aiming for the biggest results with a minimalistic approach- don’t get me wrong… I think our health should be at the core of our focus.

But this blog will focus on the small changes, the meticulous adjustments and the ways we can hack our body and mind so that whatever our lifestyle – busy, travelling, healthy or unhealthy – we can move towards a place of even more vitality, happiness and goodness.

I hope you want to come along for the journey this blog will take us on – both you and I – where we can improve our lifestyle and have fun along the way.

Thanks guys.