If You're Feeling Very, Very Sleepy...
Q: Nap, or drink a macchiato, pronto?
A: Both. "Caffeine is a great stimulant, but it works best prophylactically," says Scott Campbell, PhD, director of the Laboratory of Human Chronobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Once you're really tired, caffeine won't do much for you." A nap, however, refreshes your brain. In a study of 32 men and women, Campbell found that people who napped performed better on complex tests, not only immediately afterward but also on the following day. And happily, napping didn't disrupt nighttime sleep. To get the most from your nap, first drink a cup of coffee, then sleep for no more than 30 minutes. You'll be waking up just as your body is processing the caffeine and will be raring to go.
If Your Last Workout Left You with Sore Muscles...
Q: Stay as still as possible, or get moving?
A: When it comes to exercise, a little bit of what ails you will indeed make you better. "A hard workout causes muscle breakdown at the cellular level," explains Andrew Pruitt, director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Colorado. "The quickest way to heal those sore, damaged muscles is to move them, which increases blood flow and delivers nutrients where you need them." Gentle movement such as walking is a great form of active recovery. But any easy exercise will work, Pruitt says. "You'll not only heal faster but also burn more calories than if you just sat around."
— Selene Yeager
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