Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The power nap of fifteen quick minutes in the late afternoon is reputed to be a powerful antidote to the post-lunch weariness that many of us feel. It’s no siesta, but it’s enough to restore vitality for the final push of the work day.

But if you really want to talk about effective snoozing, look no further than the black bear. They hibernate for up to seven months a year, without ever waking up to eat, drink or relieve themselves or exercise. Recent research shows that the inactivity of hibernating bears may drop their heart rate to as low as an amazing six beats a minute, but they still burn a surprising 4,000 calories per day!

What is truly amazing is the ability that these power-nappers have to emerge from hibernation at almost the same level of physical strength and stamina as when they started it. Through daily actions of muscle stimulation and contraction, bears are able to both maintain their constant body temperature and keep their massive muscles in working shape. Come spring, they bound out of their den at full speed, ready to eat about anything in sight. [Nature, 11/01]


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