This works well because we often take lunch at home. But, now that I have lunch at the office, I do the same. I have a 1 hour pause. The first half hour I have lunch, then I take the coffee and I go to the office to sleep on the floor, on a very thin mattress. If my brain is too active, I listen to a foreign radio station with my iPhone. I like to listen to ICI Radio Canada (in French). When I have lunch here, they broadcast the morning news and commentary. The news are about stuff happening in Quebec. It is interesting enough for me to forget the work stuff, and dull enough to induce me into a deeper relaxation state, which allows me to fall sleep fast. Being the broadcast in a foreing language, also helps to fall sleep. I often dream during this 20-30 minutes naps.
An interesting detail is that I had to learn this habit. I remember being a child and being pissed off because I wasn't allowed to make noise after lunch. Now, that I'm a father, the roles are changing and I'm the one sleeping after lunch.
By the way, at night, in order to fall sleep, I never take phones, tablets or computers to my bedroom. Instead, I take a shortwave radio and I tune the BBC world service news (fortunately, in Spain we can hear the broadcast directed to Africa). I put a 30 minutes timer on the radio and I almost never hear it stopping, because I fall sleep before. The day that the BBC will shut the SW broadcast, I guess I will take a bluetooth headset or speaker to my bedroom, but not the iPhone. It is very important to avoid computers in the bedroom.
In every lunch-gathering with close relatives, or close friends, at least one or two person take a short nap on the couch after the lunch, while the rest are having a relaxed and low voice chat. Usually the persons who fall asleep are males.
By not confusing actually doing work with being kept busy for 16 hours to please the "company" / "boss".
Plus, it's not like this happens everytime and for everyone. People in Greece work longer hours than most of Europeans.
Japan has its own word "inemuri" for the practice of sleeping on the job, which is sometimes even faked to make it look like they're working hard.
Recently this practice has become more accepted company policy.
Huh. Definitely not a part of American work culture - it's likely you'll wake up with a pink slip taped to your face.
I could as well take a nap and then get back to work with renewed energy.
Given the right architecture (high ceiling, verandah, stone walls) a shift in work day like this can offset high temperatures without using huge amounts of electricity for air conditioning.
PS: Judging by the Chinese overseas students I meet I think 16 hour work days may become a memory in a generation or two.
I'm afraid to take a full nap at work due to how it may look. Do you find yourself being judged for taking naps at work?
Don't have a car? Go in a park!
Generally, you can take a nap fine in the day. Bring a book and sleep with the book on your chest. Nobody is going to disturb someone that fell asleep reading a book.
When I manage to take a nap it's usually involuntary by falling asleep in front of the TV.
During a nap you're not trying to lose consciousness as if you're "totally asleep" either. It's almost like you're hypnotizing yourself into a deep state of relaxation. A pair of sunglasses or sleep mask can also help to reduce any daytime light to make it easier.
Practice it for a year, you'll be an expert after that and have a highly valuable skill.
This guy has all you could ever hope to know on becoming a Master of Sleep: http://www.supermemo.com/articles/sleep.htm
The sleep is worth the practice :)
The "trick" is to let you mind wander without intentionally thinking about anything, but just letting thoughts float on by without getting attached to any one of them. Just notice all the different things your mind is bringing up, and let it happen, without grabbing hold of any one thought.
My big problem is that I have a strong inner voice that is explaining or narrating almost all that I do. This voice if focusing my thoughts, so I need to stop talking inside my head for this to work. I kind of just need to shut up and watch my thoughts instead :)
I force myself to. I just simulate what happens when I really start falling asleep. I create random thoughts and I chain them as fast as possible.
If I break the ice with my hammer the calendar will fall on monday, but I have to escape from a huge mountain today, etc... Works super well for me. If I really need to sleep I'll use that technique, if I'm not sleepy I can do that for like 20 minutes, I have to focus not to think about something and just think about those random and nonsense stuff and I will fall asleep eventually.
I've noticed it is often preceded by having some thought, then 5 seconds later realizing that the thought I just had makes absolutely no sense. I guess that's the reality testing switching off.
The catch? if i had stray thoughts, i would have to start back at 1. I never get that far (101). But i always managed to clear my mind and fall asleep.
After reading about other people's techniques, it seems i stumbled on things like breathing and visualization.
In the same way pole jumping without arms or legs "just takes practice".
For me, when I stopped watching TV and doing things on my laptop from my bed, I very quickly noticed an improvement in how quickly I fell asleep.
Another big one is exercise. I notice that when I exercise I have a much easier time falling asleep than on days that I don't, I now try to exercise every day.
I also got older over the past few years, which in and of itself could explain things, so, I suggest experimenting to find what works best for you.
Watching TV, laptops, reading, etc... do not train your brain that the bed is for sleeping. Now I lay in bed for a nap and I will typically zonk out in a couple of minutes.
When I'm not sleeping alone, the other people tell me I'm snoring after 10min lying around. But I cant remember falling asleep, snoring OR waking up. Just That I had my eyes closed and tried to sleep.
So I guess, I cant check for my self that I'm asleep...
What's interesting is that I definitely feel like I'm perceiving the world with some continuity during that time -- I'll hear coworkers' conversations, people walking around, etc. -- but apparently I miss things like people coming up and checking if I'm awake, or even the time someone laid my hoodie over me as an improvised blanket.
If I sleep any longer than 90 minutes or so, I just perceive it the same way I do sleeping at night.
The brain is a strange contraption, isn't it?
It depends on the time of day. I can't exactly fall asleep on command, but I'll find myself longing for a nap in the afternoon, usually around 2 or 3. I can fall asleep pretty quickly then, and usually I'll wake up about 20 minutes later.
Does your awareness reduce? It's hard to notice a change in awareness. Sometimes I notice a transition from haziness to attention when a sound draws my attention. My understanding is that the haziness is a form of sleeping and is exactly what a nap is meant to be. If you fall into a deeper sleep you will get some of the side effects others talk about -- grogginess etc. The length and depth of sleep is related, so I thought that's why you need to be careful to only nap for short periods of time.
That then leaves enough to get 10 minutes or so of sleep and get back up 20 minutes after starting your nap. Much longer than that and you risk not getting up for another few hours.
Much less than that and you won't get any rest.
And yes, this works perfectly well even without falling asleep. Just lay still for 20 minutes and let your mind wander without distractions or worrying about what you're thinking about. Congratulations, you've just meditated.
I have a lot of anxiety, which I imagine is relatively common among the developer and tech community. Sleep and peacefulness does not come easily to me. I've tried taking naps at various points over the years, but haven't successfully taken one since I was about 12 or so. Sometimes I'll even lie in bed for 30, 40, 50 minutes to just try and take a short nap. Eventually I'll give up and wonder why I wasted all that time.
This will happen to me even if I'm extremely sleep deprived, and feel very physically and mentally exhausted.
Nope, well over an hour is my average. And that's at night in my bed after a full day work.
I think the most important thing I did was defining that taking one hour to fall asleep was problematic and then tackling the problem methodically. Seeing a doctor about it was on my scope had I failed to solve the problem on my own.
Just. I've never been able to do that. I'm always thinking, even when I am exhausted. (Usually then, about how exhausted I am.)
Otherwise known as "lettings your mind wander". Just go with it, you don't have to not-think. It is perfectly fine to spend 20 minutes laying down and thinking.
Too interesting and you get wired. Too dull and your mind begins to wonder. Some work so well that it takes me several runs to listen completely.
Until I discovered deep meditation (http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Meditation-Pathway-Personal-Freed...).
Summarized: Repeat a chant, such as 'I am' (or any phrase of your choosing) for about 5 minutes, focusing on what the chant-phrase sounds like in your mind.
With the phrase 'I am', you would try to feel the sounds 'A-Y-A-M' being pronounced in your mind, without ever vocalizing it.
Gets me napping within 5 minutes, wake up charged up for a massively productive session. I hope you'll give it a try sometime.
But I don't recommend this kind of nap all the time - because after a while it's not that effective.
So, after years of napping (I'm an expert - I became so good at napping, that I can fall a sleep in 1-2 minutes, and wake up without alarm after 15-20 minutes), my advice would be: take a nap after lunch, between 1 and 3pm, without coffee before nap. Only in special situations, when you are under high pressure and lots of work, take "coffee nap" as they call it in the article.
Any advice on how you were able to achieve this ability? I always try to take a quick nap but can never fall asleep fas t enough for it to be effective.
- 'walk back' in your mind to center yourself away from forebrain activity and visual activity (this is a visualization technique)
- cover your back with something insulated and/or warm. The less your back is staying tensed against chill air, the more physically relaxed you can be. I have a Thinsulate-filled sleeping bag that I use like a throw for this as it reflects body heat better than a comforter. Sleeping on a sofa, up against the back cushions, and noticing how it was good for naps, was what alerted me to this one.
I do think it's the warmth. Part of our maintaining constant muscular tension is maintaining body heat. While we do seem to want to chill down slightly for sleep -- my observation, based on how often I'd nap on the bus and awaken sweaty, and I seem to recall reading something about that -- IME that tension does noticeably interfere with quickly getting to sleep.
When I close my eyes, almost immediately my visual memory lights up with a "day review" which is like a daydream but for being something which I can direct, using pretty much the same visualization mechanism I use for data/code/schematic structures when I'm designing, coding or debugging. I can feel that forebrain activity as a slight heat just behind my forehead. It's great for overview and casual entertainment when I can afford the time, but not when I need a quick nap and it's keeping me conscious.
I will the main weight of my awareness to recede from that frontal visualization viewplane, moving toward the back of my skull, deliberately dissociating from the visual activity, to where things feel like they're quieter and move slower. If, for motorcycling, where a less tightly-focused, more panoramic viewpoint is best for situational awareness, I take a half-step back, for quick napping I take several steps back.
You can forcefully imagine the footsteps if it helps establish the change of center; after awhile, that mental positioning becomes familiar enough to dispense with the imagined physical/aural sound-effects.
Sorry if it sounds all too Crafty or New-Age, but that's how I live.
The other strategy is physical and mental exhaustion, for this I recommend starting a business and/or becoming a parent.
Sleep deprivation may make it easy to fall asleep fast, but then you won't wake up without alarm after 15-20 minutes.
Pick up the Headspace app. You get several meditations for free and those should be enough to arm you with what you need to learn "speed relaxing".
If I get a proper 8-9 hours of sleep, I find it impossible to nap.
Maybe the insta-napping is only possible due to a more fundamental lack of sleep issue?
I really think the key is closing your eyes. I've read (no citation available) that the vision system requires a huge amount of brain activity and that by shutting your eyes you can achieve a large sleep like win even if you don't sleep.
There are many stages of sleep; stage 1 through 4, and REM sleep. These, it is hypothesized, have distinct physiological functions. Most importantly for this discussion, waking up out of each have very different effects.
Waking from stage 1 sleep makes you feel immediately refreshed, and people perform better immediately have tests of mental acuity. This is also true of REM sleep; additionally you often remember dreams.
Stage 2 is also good. A good 30 minutes afterwards, you will feel better rested, and your mental acuity will rise; for longer than from stage 1, but it is a delayed effect.
But if you wake up out of a deeper sleep cycle, you get 'sleep inertia.' Mental acuity plummets. You feel poorly rested and ill.
The body is often not even aware that you are sleeping in stage 1 sleep. You are in a different physiological stage, but you may not have lost consciousness.
You usually are in this stage from minute 5 onto minute 10. And in stage two up to about 15-20 minutes. After that, you can fall into a deeper sleep; which waking up from is very problematic.
I used to set my alarm for 30 minutes. I'd way up, feel even more tired, and set my alarm for 30 minutes again. This was ruining my life.
Even if you don't lose consciousness, you can still be 'sleeping' and a nap of 20 minutes will greatly help you feel healthy and well rested.
I now do this combined with a caffeine nap (green tea) and it works perfectly. There's a point where I deep in my conscious I realize I'm dropping the item. As it hits the floor my eyes open, and I feel refreshed almost immediately afterwards. The time for me is about 25-27 minutes from laying down to the drop.
Insomnia and other things are very real, but in this case the problem was with what I felt was a good rest.
Although I guess to some extent if you're going to ignore the sleep signal otherwise, there likely isn't much harm in feeling alert while doing so, except inasmuch as the alert feeling causes you to tax your brain more than you otherwise would.
Basically most preditors are active either just after dark, or in the late morning.
Teens are typically strong (a 13 year old male is as strong as your average adult female), alert and they have the best vision, and noise making in the night would keep predators and scavengers away. Evening predators likely weren't a great risk, but scavengers definitely would be an issue.
Adults are obviously the strongest and most alert, and are awake when the most dangerous animals are also awake: lions, tigers, hippos, etc.
The elderly are our weakest, their vision is poor and their alertness becomes questionable. However, there's theories we live so long after infertility sets in specifically for the reason they care for the young. Both infants and the elderly have surprisingly similar sleeping patterns. Predators are least active in the early mornings and so are most dangers. Insects and reptiles (venomous things) are least active in the coldest hours of the day, which is right around dawn.
It can also attempt to time your nap based on your latest sleep patterns. No idea how effective this is.
I love this thing just for it's nap mode.
I think this could do really well in Soma or the Financial District in SF. Just gotta enforce one-person-one-rule so that it doesnt become a place for prostitution.
Even on non-prime real-estate (which does that exist in SF?), I don't think you could hit your $20 price point with the amount of housekeeping needed for a bed and shower. Even if you could, after a week your staff might hate you. :-)
To be fair, they say Japanese love hotels allow single guests (https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Japan#Love_hotels) and capsule hotels have showers (https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Japan#Capsule_hotels).
I don't doubt, though, that even in Japan there's a niche for specifically targeted establishments of the kind described by grandparent.
I think you'd also get customers from people who bike to work or workout at lunch but don't have access to a shower (assuming the location was good).
This isn't really true, right? On an empty stomach a strong coffee seems to get me high as a kite in about two minutes.
I've been doing this coffee+nap thing for a long time. It definitely works for me. My trick for falling asleep reliably and quickly is listening to an audiobook.
However you're also conditioned to the feeling you expect coffee to provide, so the initial jolt of energy may have almost nothing to do with the actual caffeine and more to do with the thought of the caffeine.
It's also got emotional benefits. If you are feeling down, then simply waiting for the medicine to do its job can make things worse, as your mind goes in a negative spiral. Taking a nap can give you peace that you're just putting everything aside and going to concentrate on the warmth of the nap and a dream. And before you know it, bam - everything's perfect again.
Caffeine is best used strategically, which means not every day. Save it for days where you're feeling particularly low energy, or need a boost to tackle a problem you're not particularly excited about doing.
That said, the half-life of caffeine is around 6 hours, which means if you have a coffee at 3pm, at 3am you still have a quarter-cup's worth of caffeine in your system, preventing you from entering deep sleep. So even then I'd keep caffeine as a first-thing-in-the-morning type of deal.
Naps I'm a big fan of. I take one every day after lunch. The trick is to simply lay down and close your eyes for 20 minutes. Don't worry if you fall asleep or not - just give your eyes a rest. For the first few days/weeks, you might not fall asleep. But eventually your body grows accustomed to the ritual and it becomes easier to actually fall asleep at hat time.
The studies likely involved mostly habitual users rather than unindoctrinated subjects, but from the abstracts' documentation it is difficult to be sure. Perhaps the researchers did not recognize the distinction and just selected random participants, therefore likely to include mostly habitual users.
When I was a caffeine addict (habitual user) I could also
sleep after ingestion.
In fact without a fix right before bedtime it was more difficult to get to sleep because nominal concentration level was unsatisfied, resulting more in agitation than identifiable craving.
A nice hit would actually help me relax.
I was not the only one who could relate to this as an indication of true addiction, where you need the substance just to be normal.
Complete withdrawal took a few weeks (of hellish tiredness, achiness, and irritability) but after this it was even easier to more alertly conduct high-stamina activities and out-perform my still-addicted colleagues without the toxic load on my system.
Sleep & nap much more productively without it after kicking the habit too.
Sure can write a lot better code when drug (addiction) free as well.
When I do feel it's necessary (never for marathon coding), a single cup of coffee (after I have already been awake 24hrs and need a little boost) naturally keeps my otherwise drug-free system awake for the next 24hrs easily which can be helpful for things like long-distance driving once or twice per year.
As an addict I would have needed two or three times my nominal habitual doses to feel as alert on those same lonely roads.
To me coding does not benefit from this type of non-stop alertness, even if you are working to exhaustion, when tiredness truly comes a plain nap is better whether it is after 6hrs, 12hrs, 20hrs, whatever, then freshly go into another session, exahustion relieved.
Same with driving too, but if the schedule is too tight, a couple times a year will not make you a habitual user like everyday dosage does.
I'd rather drive slow for long hours than exceed the speed limit, waste energy, and prematurely wear out my machinery.
YMMV  but just because everybody does caffeine won't make it good for you, especially in the long run.
 depending largely on body weight, metabolism, and dosage, and for driving, road speed
I disagree. Monsters in particular I find delicious. (I try not to drink them often though... they tend to really hype me up then wear me out not long after).
I wish I could acquire a taste for coffee because it seems like the healthiest way to get caffeine, but if I have to load it with sugar and cream it defeats the point.
The article says the test subjects used it to good effect for 24 hours. I wonder if the following day was a compete productivity waste.
This is in a university setting, so I have no managers to worry about. The only problem might be noise (I often sleep with earplugs anyway), and weird looks.