Walk It Off

Harvard Business Review recently posted on the discovery that workers who nap are more efficient, correction in the original:

… When Sara Mednick, a former Harvard researcher, gave her subjects a memory challenge, she allowed half of them to take a 60 to 90 minute nap. The nappers dramatically outperformed the non-nappers. In another study, Mednick had subjects practice a visual task at four intervals over the course of a day. Those who took a 30 minute nap after the second session sustained their performance all day long. Those who didn’t nap performed increasingly poorly as the day wore on.

When pilots are given a nap of just 30 minutes on long haul flights, they experience a 16 percent increase improvement in their reaction time. Nonnapping pilots experience a 34 per cent decrease over the course of the flight. …

That might not seem to have anything to do with another study I read about, indicating that traumatic childhood experiences can have lifelong health effects, as per a massive research study on the effects of childhood trauma:

… Childhood adversity radically increases the risk for physical illnesses and disabilities, including heart and lung disease, autoimmune disease, liver disease, cancer (48 percent greater chance), diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, hepatitis, and chronic pain. It’s shocking to learn, though it probably shouldn’t be, that [individuals who experienced 6 or more categories of adverse events in childhood and young adulthood] die, on average, two decades earlier than those [who report none]. …

Is it likely that workplaces will start adopting naps? Nah. Looks too lazy. People just lay there, you know, not doing anything. Refusing to maximize their therbligs.

Is it likely that the health system is going to be revamped to deal with the reality that people’s unattended social traumas are actually damaging to their health? Frak, no. Neither the health system nor our government are even willing to face the fact that ambient pesticides and PCBs appear to contribute to obesity and diabetes.

The doctor who did the primary study on the health affects of childhood trauma is met with a mix of derision and inattention. When a major hospital chain tested the effects of running patients through a brief questionnaire that acknowledged their experiences on the scale developed for the study, they found dramatic reductions in the need for medical attention … that went away after two years without follow-up. The practice of investigating this part of a patient’s history, though it would have likely saved billions, was never adopted.

No, everybody needs to just suck it up. Deal. Walk it off. Take responsibility … for the caretakers who mistreated you or destroyed themselves while you watched, for the chemical companies who dump toxic crap in your food and water, for the job demands that take you to the brink of utter exhaustion.

We need a kinder way to deal with each other than this.