This Is How Long All Your Naps Should Be

This Is How Long All Your Naps Should Be

Trust NASA on this one -- a 26-minute nap is the most ideal nap.

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We've all been there: you're sitting in your afternoon lecture, trying desperately to concentrate on your professor, when suddenly a wave of fatigue knocks you right out. You may be angry about missing out on that class when you wake up, but don't get down on yourself: this midday drowsiness can easily be avoided with a life-saving tool known as the 26-minute nap.

If you know me at all, you know how passionate I am about the 26-minute nap. Using this napping method has saved my life in college -- and it can save yours too.

Here's why this is the ideal nap length, according to a 1995 study from NASA: 26 minutes allows you just enough time to doze off before you fall into a deeper sleep, so you won't wake up feeling groggy and disoriented -- a concept called "sleep inertia." On the contrary, NASA says that sleeping for 26 minutes can improve performance by 34% and alertness by 54%, which can make all the difference during a long day of studying.

Let's break it down even further. It takes, on average, 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. This is why I recommend only taking a nap when you're tired -- doing so allows you to make the most of your 26 minutes. After about ten minutes, your body leaves stage one of non-REM sleep and enters stage two of non-REM sleep, characterized by a slowed heartbeat, relaxed muscles, and slowed brain activity. Stage two is considered the last stage of sleep before you enter a deep sleep, and it usually lasts about 15 minutes. So, the ten minutes that it should take you to fall asleep, combined with the 15 minutes of stage 2 sleep, brings us to about 26 minutes in total -- a nap that lets you maximize light sleep while ensuring you don't fall completely into the abyss.

As I mentioned earlier, the best time to take this nap is in the early afternoon, between 1 and 3 o'clock, right when that post-lunch fatigue kicks in. Or if you're like me, and one nap just doesn't cut it for the entire day, try taking two: one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. But remember -- only nap when you're tired.

Though it is easy to fall back on a nap (or two) every day, it's worth mentioning that nothing is more effective for feeling refreshed and combating stress than a good night's sleep; about seven hours is best.

In the meantime, take a 26-minute nap, and listen to that lecture for once.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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The Day I Stopped Working Out For Societal Approval Is The Day I Fell In Love With Exercise Again

I'm working out for me — not for you — and I'm done apologizing for that.

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When I was younger, my exercise came in the form of soccer. Soccer was my first love, always has been and always will be. I played for the love of the game and for the joy it brought me to spend countless hours of my week with a ball under my feet and a goal in front of me. Then, when I was 15, I gave up on my first love, and I will always regret that.

What does this little anecdote about soccer have to do with exercising for the approval of others around me? Well, during the summer, just prior to my last season of soccer, I suffered from an undiagnosed eating disorder. I won't go into all the gory details about that here because that isn't the point I'm trying to get across, but it does deserve to be mentioned because it was during that time that my mindset towards exercise completely shifted.

The girl who had once played soccer simply for the love of the game became the girl who spent hours out in the sweltering North Carolina heat running because she was trying to transform herself into this "ideal" person based on society's standards. Let me tell you something, striving to be something that you can physically never be in order to fulfill this unrealistic expectation that society presents us is both physically and emotionally draining.

That summer, my mindset towards exercise was solely focused on what everyone else thought of me and how much I needed to work out in order to continue to lose weight. It wouldn't be until well into my freshman year of college that my mindset would shift once again — this time for the better.

When I first started college, I loved the idea of having free access to a gym that was only a short walk from my dorm. I hadn't really had that in a long time, seeing as how by this point it had been nearly four years since I'd given up soccer, and running around my neighborhood brought me back to the summer of 2012. First semester I didn't really find a ton of time to get to the gym, mostly because I was still trying to figure out what it meant to be a college student and how to balance all of my responsibilities. That all changed spring semester of my freshman year. I found myself going to the gym almost every single day, and if I'm completely honest, I hadn't felt that good in a really long time.

For the first time in four years, I was working out because I enjoyed the feeling it gave me or to help deal with the stress of a long week, instead of having the hurtful words of someone ringing in my ears the entire time. That was the moment I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that if I ever started to feel that way again in the gym — as if I wasn't good enough or I was working out to make someone else like me — I was to immediately stop whatever I was doing and leave right then and there.

In the three years since I've been in college, I have yet to have to implement that self-imposed policy. To some people, it may sound stupid or as if that isn't that big of an accomplishment, but for me it is. I went from being the girl who ran for societal approval to the girl who remembered what it felt like to fully enjoy a workout again. It was at that moment, freshman year me carving out the time in my chaotic schedule, that I fell in love with exercise again.

Words can't fully express how amazing of a feeling this is to me. Now I long to get back in the gym because I love the feeling of accomplishment of completing an intense workout. I may not get to the gym every single day, but I now realize that it's perfectly OK if I miss a day or two, or even a full week. I'm done letting other people dictate how or when I workout. I'm letting myself fall back into exercising for the sheer love of it. So this one goes out to the 14-year-old soccer loving girl inside of me that has been brought back out by letting go of societal expectations.

Stop letting an unrealistic societal standard of beauty dictate how you live your life, whether it's in exercising or how you dress or what you eat. Be the person God created you to be and don't apologize for that.

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