I have always been deeply jealous of those who were able to ‘cat-nap’. Just drop of for ten minutes in some unlikely location and wake up refreshed, revived and ready to soldier on with the task in hand. If I do it, I wake up groggy, headachy, grumpy, with a crick in my neck and in a worse state than I started. Yet I know that truck load of ‘famous people’ from Leonardo da Vinci to Margaret Thatcher have cat napped regularly, while no self-respecting Italian, Spaniard or southern Frenchman would contemplate a day without at least a twenty minute siesta after lunch….
But, thanks to a piece in Natural News yesterday, I now know what I do wrong – and how I, like Boris, can benefit from a a quick zizz: I need to organise myself.
First thing is that I need to limit my time. Thirty minutes absolute maximum and ideally less than that.
The reason? According to Psychology Today because:
‘When you sleep under normal circumstances, your brain cycles through several different stages of Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma sleep waves. You drift from one stage of sleep to another – from light sleep to deeper sleep, to REM sleep, to wakefulness and so on. Delta and Theta waves are known as Sleep I and Sleep II stages, and are light stages of sleep. So, the key to napping is not to fall into the deeper stages of sleep. That’s why a 15 to 30 minute nap is key.’ And, obviously, why I always feels sooooo horrible when I wake up – I sleep for far too long.
Then, according ot Harvard Health Publications, I need to:
‘Find a dark, quiet, cool place. You don’t want to waste a lot of time getting to sleep. Reducing light and noise helps most people nod off faster. Cool temperatures are helpful, too.’
‘Plan on it. Waiting till daytime sleepiness gets so bad that you have to take a nap can be uncomfortable and dangerous if, say, you’re driving. A regular nap time may also help you get to sleep faster and wake up quicker.’
‘Time my caffeine. Caffeine takes some time to kick in. A small Japanese study published several years ago found that drinking a caffeinated beverage and then taking a short nap immediately afterward was the most restful combination because the sleep occurred just before the caffeine took effect. We’re not so sure about that approach — the mere suggestion of caffeine, in the form of coffee taste or smell, wakes us up. Regardless of the exact timing, you need to coordinate caffeine intake with your nap.’
Well, napping certainly seems to be the way that big companies are going. Bloomberg Business Week suggests that companies as diverse as Ben & Jerry’s, Time Warner and Cisco Systems are all jumping on the napping bandwagon in attempt to squeeze more productivity out of their employees who, these days, average less than seven hours sleep a night. Reassuringly, many airlines also now encourage pilots to sleep during long intercontinental flights while colleagues take over the controls.
Inevitably, in New York, some bright guys have found a way to cash in on the napping boom.
‘Yelo, a napping spa in midtown Manhattan, offer a cocoon like treatment room in which clients can adjust aromatherapy, sound and lighting’. Alternatively, MetroNaps can provide you with a ‘napping chair’ or Energy Pod ‘which is designed to provide some privacy, but is typically installed in a common area so you create an environment of awareness and acceptance’ – which you can rent for $795 per month…
Errr….. Maybe I’ll just go and consult with Boris….