"Grab a handful of paperclips and find an office/meeting room. Shut the door and lie down on the ground with your feet against the door. Sprinkle the paperclips in front of you. Now have a nap.
If someone tries to enter the room, the door will hit your feet. This will naturally cause them to pause (and stops them entering), it wakes you up and lets you reach for the paperclips which gives you a ready excuse ("Oh sorry, I was just picking up the paperclips")"
/end lame joke
A shameless plug: I wrote a post about how I learned to nap here: http://unschooled.org/2011/05/how-i-nap
Finding a place to nap in an office an environment can be tricky, but if you start thinking of your nap as an important work tool and not an embarrassing indulgence, you can usually find a way to make it work. Drop a few bucks on a good pillow, blanket, sleep mask, and/or white-noise headphones -- whatever's important for you -- to keep at your desk. (For me, the sleep mask is critical. YMMV.) Get creative with your sleep position -- couches are great, but I've made it work lying on the floor with my feet up on my office chair (suitably chocked so it won't roll away). The key point is, don't be afraid to ask the work environment to adapt to your nap, rather than vice versa.
I used to go to my car and take a nap. Kick the seat back, eye cover, maybe ear plugs and put the alarm on vibrate and in my shirt pocket.
Depending on someones situation and their proximity to their vehicle, if they drive.. It could be good.
Everyone likes being hip and yogic. Buy a yoga mat. By tying yoga mats to napping it seems all so, much, more okay.
It's easy to lie on the floor, once you learn to nap on the floor you'll have the most refreshing naps ever.
Some people have a room they can go to, or maybe a spare office / meeting they can use / book.
In general, I've found the biggest obstacles are social (i.e., people think you're lazy), not logistical. But these are largely gone for me now that I'm running my own company. My cofounder and I have vowed to not just tell any future employees that napping is acceptable, but to actually keep doing it, so they see that we're serious and feel comfortable napping themselves should they want to.
I'd recommend telling your coworkers/boss that napping makes you more productive, and that you only take one 20-minute nap a day. If they're silly and care about exact minutes worked, just show up a few minutes early or start a bit later.
Genuinely curious: How much of the sleep deprivation is due to employment practices, and how much is due to, say, American cultural values? Are we sleeping less because our employers or our social lives demand more?
But some are lucky genetic mutants. I am not one of them.
Options here are obviously, book a meeting, pretend you're going for a run, out to lunch or a coffee.
A nice side affect (and the reason I played around with it originally) is that it helps mask tinnitus when it gets too annoying (I find that if tinnitus flares up too loud, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep).
play -t sl -r48000 -c2 - synth -1 pinknoise tremolo .1 40 < /dev/zero
Or for sticking on your mp3 player, http://22.214.171.124/audio/RainyMood.ogg
play -c2 -n synth whitenoise band -n 100 24 band -n 300 100 gain +20
While all this is not based on anything that can withstand analysis, it adds a strange flavor to advice when it starts with broad categories which seem not entirely correct.
I highly recommend you try this for a month. Have a set time (say, 10-12PM) after which you will be able to get 8 hours of sleep and declare that blackout time: no lights, candles, tvs, computers, phones, etc. You will be amazed when within that month you aquire the ability to go to sleep and wake at the same times each day.
Then I started napping with the lights on, and then when I wasn't super tired.
Today, I can fall asleep quickly in a chair in a noisy office.
I have found that setting an alarm and counting down from 10 to force myself out of bed unnaturally early has left me feeling really awake once showered and very dozy around mid-day. Time will tell if this is sustainable but it feels pretty amazing right now, far more productive hours (in amount and intensity) than when I was sleeping 8-9hours a night.
Also, as you do it every day at the same time, your body gets used to it and you nap faster.
When I try to nap, I'm pretty sure it takes ~5 minutes to doze off usually, but sometimes even more than that.
I think that the key to going right into the nap, nearly as soon as your head hits the pillow, is to have a routine of using a timer, and get up quickly as soon as the time is up. Then, you won't lie there worrying that you'll oversleep or thinking you should be doing something else more important. Your mind is given permission to fall off, knowing it will come right back with the timer beeping.
I've found it helps to cover my head with another pillow, blocking out some light and noise. The head sandwich feeling is also relaxing and may contribute to my falling right out of consciousness in 10 seconds or less.
During meditation retreats, I often fell asleep during the first morning sessions. My teacher said that this was ok, but gave me comparable tip if I wanted to stay awake: meditate standing, when falling asleep, your body will always wake up in moments to stay balanced.
As people already noticed, you have to play a little bit with the timing.
- Obviously you can set a radio between channels, but I often don't have a radio in the room but do have a computer, so...
- In linux, if you have ALSA installed, you can type
cat /dev/urandom | aplay -f cd
cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp
- On the internet, there's http://simplynoise.com/
He laughs about it but it's got to be a skill built up over years by practicing.
The one trick he did teach me for a mid-day nap was to lie on your back on the floor and put your legs up on a chair (calf muscles on the seat, feet against the backrest). For some reason it really seems to help, I assume it's circulation related.
Why do so many companies still force their employees to work with so little sleep? Why do they still frown at sleeping on the job? And why don't more of them provide cots, sofas and showers, when they can easily afford them?
For decades, some of the more enlightened companies have been providing in-company cafeterias, laundry, fridges and microwaves in office kitchens, and other amenities so that employees don't feel like they need to leave the workplace as much. You'd think these companies would recognize that providing sleeping facilities is the next logical step. Why don't they?
I've used this but only for a few times because it requires the phone to be activated all night, which makes it quite warm in the morning. But it seemed to make me less groggy...but I can't tell if that's just confirmation bias...
I haven't thought of using it for just 45 min spans though
That doesn't mean that stuff like this isn't useful for normal people who don't flail around like an animal when they sleep, but an anecdote is an anecdote. I'd also imagine a more sophisticated piece of software might be able to learn your sleep pattern and adjust the sensitivity (i.e. calibrate the threshold based on how much you personally move when you sleep, rather than the hypothetical average person).
(in Wakemate's defense, they have an awesome no-questions-asked 30-day return policy, so I was happily able to return it and get my money back when I wasn't satisfied. They were a true pleasure to deal with.)
So worst case is that you wake up the same way you would with a normal alarm clock, but on the other days its pretty neat.
But the 30% battery charge I lose overnight is sometimes a hassle because my phone is either near the 30% right before I want to go to bed or I know that I have no time to charge it in the morning... and I refuse to charge the phone while its laying next to me :)
Taking even a 15 minute nap in my car right after lunch completely boosts my creative thinking and problem solving ability.
Where it mentions a nap makes stage 2 sleep, I know my ability to nap can depend on how quickly I can fall asleep.
I've found meditating for 5-10 minutes even at my desk offers a similar result to napping, without the nap-hangover/grogginess.
The feeling? Like when we wake up, fresh, clear minded, focused, settled and ready to go.
I wish I could wake up with the same mood in the morning. I find it really hard to even wake up without putting the alarm in snooze at least twice.
I set my alarms at 8, and I snooze it till 8:30.
On a more helpful note: I learned how to nap by having siesta when I helped someone build a house in the South of France. A mid-day nap there was common, even for those in the public sector. They reasoned that in summer it was just too hot too work.
I would do my napping where ever I'd like: the grass, a garden chair, a leather sofa. It took about 2 weeks to actually "get" it, but it did my body good. Sometimes I skipped a day because I wanted to read or w/e, but I'd still take my moment of rest.
On a real note, napping changed my life. And when I had my own business, it really helped productivity to have a nap in the middle of the day. Now I work for the machine, and naps are unfortunately not allowed.
OK, here's a crazy idea!
I work for the machine, MOST of us work for the machine.
Unions are in our past.
But government might just be the way to force the machine to support naps for its workers.
If we start lobbying for a law to allow naps, how realistic is it for that to pass? Sure it's silly, but silly laws usually have a better chance of passing!
A better approach is to start your own business, and incorporate naps into the company culture.
Now, living in Chengdu, office workers here are encouraged to nap after lunch time, around 2. At my wife's office, there is a chime followed by soft music twice a day, reminding workers its time for a break to do eye exercise, something they teach or at least used to teach in Chinese elementary school. Many offices in Chengdu also have a tea break around 4 ;)
Apparently, this is most popular in warmer countries. Nap aka siesta times correspond with the hottest and most dangerous parts of the day in terms of UV radiation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siesta
My routine is at about 1:30 slouch in my chair leaning back with my hands atop my head with fingers inter locked.
Whats strange is that I don't really goto sleep. I can hear everything going on around me but my mind is just totally blank and not focused on anything.
I stay like this for around 15-20 min then snap out of it fully refreshed!
It's almost like taking the nap in the middle day gives my brain a "restart" so it's refreshed and prepared to focus the rest of the night.
Really interesting and insightful piece!
Try this - immediately before closing your eyes say to yourself "I need to wake up in 15 minutes". In exactly 15 minutes you will feel a subtle mental nudge that you need to act upon and open your eyes. You can as easily ignore it, in which case you will go right back to sleep. YMMV, of course, but it works for many people and it is seriously amazing.
I do it like this: when laying in bed right before falling asleep I imagine a flip-card clock and the whole thing is spinning, just spinning, then I imagine it stopping suddenly on the time that I want to wakeup. The really cool part is when you wake up at exactly that time the next morning with NO alarm clocks!
It just reaffirmed that 9 to 5 culture is not for me.
I have a colleague who regularly meditates, he simply grabs a free meeting room.
I wrote an iPhone app for this
- Drink coffee as you prepare to nap
- Take 20 minute power nap as caffeine gets in your system