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The Power of the Downstate:

Recharge Your Life Using Your Body's Own Restorative Systems

Hachette Go (April 19, 2022)

Renowned sleep expert and UC Irvine professor introduces the “downstate”—the key to rest and rejuvenation on a cellular level—and how to maximize it for energy, balance, and vitality.

If you’re like most people, chances are you’re feeling the daily grind of go-go-go, do-do-do. And maybe that’s starting to wear on you but you’re not quite sure what to do, since those platitudes of “just slow down, learn to meditate” aren’t resonating. The good news is that you have an intrinsic toolkit you can apply to rest and rejuvenate all your key body systems. It’s called the Downstate, and Dr. Sara Mednick is here to tell you how to access it—and how it can truly change your life.
Dr. Mednick lives, breathes, and eats sleep; as a Professor of Cognitive Science at UCI and world expert on sleep (specifically, the role sleep plays in forming our long‑term memories, regulating our emotions, keeping our cardiovascular system functioning properly, and helping older adults stay alert and agile) she has discovered just how important that nighttime Downstate is for our mental and physical health. The findings at her lab and in the sleep science community have established that “Downstates” are the driving force for all sleep's restorative benefits. Not only that, the Downstate is an integral part of all the physiological, cognitive, and emotional processes that allow us to stay as strong as possible--yet it is often ignored by our stressful, nonstop lives. But respecting the Downstate means longer, healthier life. In this smart, accessible guide, you’ll learn the science—including what your nervous system really does, as well as tackling circadian rhythms and how important it is that we pay attention to them. And then you get deeper into the Downstate and learn the customizable four‑week Recovery Plan, an evidence‑based program that encompasses all the most up‑to‑date findings from autonomic, sleep, circadian rhythms, exercise physiology, and nutrition research. Translation: the practical tools so you can thrive in any way you want without burning out.
Dr. Mednick isn’t going to tell you to stop working so hard. She’s not here to suggest you are wrong for loving the sweet smell of ambition in the morning. Rather, she shares that you—all of us—actually can handle any reasonable amount of stress, as long as we replenish ourselves on a daily basis by engaging in activities that make us feel rested, full of energy, and loved. That’s the Power of the Downstate. By working your Downstate to its maximum you can handle anything that comes your way.


Take a Nap! Change Your Life

The Scientific Plan to Make You Smarter, Healthier, More Productive

Workman Publishing, November 16, 2006

Imagine a product that increases alertness, boosts creativity, reduces stress, improves perception, stamina, motor skills, and accuracy, enhances your sex life, helps you make better decisions, keeps you looking younger, aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of heart attack, elevates your mood, and strengthens memory. Now imagine that this product is nontoxic, has no dangerous side effects, and, best of all, is absolutely free.

This miracle drug is, in fact, nothing more than the nap: the right nap at the right time. The work of Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D., a researcher at the Salk Institute and the leading authority on the study of the nap, Take a Nap! Change Your Life. is the scientifically-based breakthrough program that shows how we can fight the fatigue epidemic—which afflicts an estimated 50 million Americans—through a custom-designed nap. Take a Nap! Change Your Life. explains the five stages of the sleep cycle, particularly Stage Two, Slow Wave Sleep, and REM, and the benefits each one provides; how to assess your tiredness and set up a personal sleep profile; and how to neutralize the voice in your head that tells you napping is a sign of laziness. (Not that anyone would have called JFK, Churchill, Einstein, or Napoleon a slug-a-bed.) Using the unique Nap Wheel on the cover and interior graphs and charts, it shows us exactly when our optimum napping time is, and exactly how long we should try to sleep—even how it’s possible to design a nap to inspire creativity one day, and the next day design one to help us with our memory. There are tips on how to create the right nap environment, a 16-step technique for falling asleep, a six-week napping workbook, and more.




"Thank you for writing Take a Nap, it did change my life. This is the first book about sleep with which you directly can apply your new knowledge and create a better quality life. I am now a promoter of your concept and advise people to read your book."


"Take a Nap! is entertaining and well-written, yet informative and based on Dr. Mednick’s scientific research. As an inveterate napper, I recommend Take a Nap! to my colleagues and students. Personally, I couldn’t be as productive each day without my afternoon nap."

- HANY FARID PH.D, David T. McLaughlin Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Associate Chair of Computer Science at Dartmouth College

“Taking a nap is the best gift we can give ourselves, and the best advice we can offer our friends, clients and students. Sara’s book, Take a Nap, Change Your Life conveys in such simple and easy to understand language the deep impact of health, healing, creativity and energy that such a simple and enjoyable affair as taking a nap brings to our lives. I recommend her book to everyone at every training, class and retreat that I give. I don’t know how I survived for so long without the daily nap that I now love to take, thanks to Sara’s guidance!”.

- RICHARD MILLER, PHD, Clinical Psychologist and Educator; President, Center of Timeless Being; Co-president, Institute for Spirituality and Psychology; Co-founder, International Association of Yoga Therapy

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