A good nap is hard to beat

Sometimes there’s just nothing better than a good nap.

In my younger days, I used to find it kind of funny that people (read: old people) had to nap. I remember the Thanksgivings and Christmases when, after a big meal, the men would perch in different areas in the living room to watch the football games. The ladies would usually all sit around the kitchen table catching up on the family stories. Often, before the first quarter was over, the men would be snoring away.

I remember, too, thinking it was funny that Mexicans were always stereotypically portrayed as taking a “siesta,” an afternoon nap. You remember the image, the one that was presented in several Clint Eastwood westerns; a Mexican leaned up against a wall, his sombrero pulled down over his eyes.

I wonder now, if maybe they don’t have the right idea.

In Japan, many of the big businesses have a “nap” room in addition to their normal break rooms. In the break room you can go drink a coke and eat a candy bar, but in the nap room, you have to nap.

I’m being serious about this.

There are some businesses in America who have started to use this idea and have installed nap rooms into their offices. Seems corporate moguls are trying to figure out how to get the most bang for their buck not just from their products, but from their employees.

Some big research company did some, well, research and found that workers had a tendency to be more productive after they’ve had a power nap.

I’ve become a big fan of the power nap in my older years, but I’m not sure if I could nap on demand like that in a company naproom. Not sure I could handle the pressure: Okay, you have 20 minutes to take, now…GO!

I think I would get nap anxiety and would simply lie there wishing I could get to sleep, worried that I couldn’t get to sleep in 20 minutes. I think I’d be like a kid on Christmas Eve night, knowing that I had to go to sleep before Santa would come, yet so anxious that I couldn’t do it.

The big question really comes in as to how long should your nap be to be the most effective. A two hour nap could just serve to make you sleepy and groggy the rest of the day. I read somewhere that the best way to gauge a recliner nap is to put a flat cookie sheet on the floor next to the recliner. Hold a spoon in your hand and proceed to nap.

Once you’ve slept enough for an effective powernap, the spoon will fall out of your hand and onto the cookie sheet. The resulting clang will startle you and you’ll slam the leg rest back under the chair, propelling your body out of the chair like a rocket.

Nap’s over.


Filed under Columns, General

2 responses to “A good nap is hard to beat

  1. Dave Olbrich

    Roland, you’re right that a nap is a wonderful thing. The research that I’ve seen shows that sleep cycles are mostly 45 minutes long. Sleep 45 minutes and you’ll feel refreshed. Sleep 60 and you’ll probably be groggy. Sleep 90 minutes and you’ll feel refreshed … and so on and so on.

    Also power naps are the most effective if your feet are (somehow) above your level of your head. So put one pillow under your head and three pillows under your feet.

    I’m sort of sorry that I keep this crap in my head.


  2. Erin Baker

    I agree with Dave…sleep cycles are around 45 minutes b/c my 10 month old often wakes and cries after 45 minutes! Naps are great. I think I started appreciating them in college when I would schedule a nap into my day….”class, class, class, lunch, nap, go to practice…” Now, I wish I could get them more often!

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