Sleep (and lack thereof)

Sam Friedman/News-Miner

According to “Benefits of Napping” by the National Sleep Foundation, a 20-minute nap is the best length. A short nap like this allows your mind and body to rest without entering the deeper stages of sleep. If you have time and a need for a longer nap, napping for 60 to 90 minutes is enough time to have deep, slow-wave sleep, but end up in the lighter stages of sleep so you feel alert when you awake.

It’s wise to occasionally consider the little-noticed yet larger aspects of life. I did just that when a smoke alarm battery died at 1 a.m., yet again. While fetching the ladder from outside I started adding up all the battery-powered devices I associate with. I’m skewed toward Luddite-ism, but the number was still staggering, depressing, and incomplete; the rechargeable wine bottle opener my mother gave me just came to mind, and others exist. Therefore, exploring how to properly charge these cordless electricity gobblers is sensible, and Geoffrey Fowler of the Washington Post helps with a recent article, “You’re Charging Wrong: 5 Ways to Make Gadget Batteries Last Longer.”

One of Fowler’s suggestions is of particular importance to Alaskans: We shouldn’t recharge batteries in extreme weather since they perform best at 72 degrees or cooler, so long as it’s above freezing. Other hints: Don’t let batteries completely discharge nor leave them in rechargers once they’re at 100% since that stresses them. “All devices are designed and manufactured with a target number of times the battery can be completely discharged and recharged. It’s typically between 300 and 1000 … Don’t start charging until your battery reaches about 20% — and try to stop when you get to about 80%. This will make sure you maximize each cycle while keeping the battery free of stress.”

Greg Hill is the former director of Fairbanks North Star Borough libraries. He can be reached at