Fun fact: The word “siesta” originates from the Latin “sexta,” meaning “sixth,” and “hora” meaning “hour.” Since Latin is a really old language, I think it’s safe to say that napping has been around since the days of Roman sandals and cheesy gladiator contests… both of which have stood the test of time. Yes, you have historical approval to nap!
Napping isn’t just for toddlers and old people (and I’ve been accused of being both). Real science backs up the benefits. Improved alertness, less stress, better memory, and a decrease in overall crabbiness are just some of the suggested benefits. There’s nothing like a good “microsleep,” as the hipsters in Silicon Valley like to call it. Don’t call it that, please.
I’ve actually been working on the perfect nap (the sacrifices I make for you people!).
The first thing I do is drink a cup of coffee. Crazy, right? While it sounds totally counterproductive, research has shown that the effects of caffeine take about 20-30 minutes to kick in. When you’re tired in the afternoon, it’s thought to be because of a naturally occurring chemical called “adenosine.” Taking a nap helps to counter the effect of this chemical. Once I wake I from my nap, I get a double shot of energy due to less adenosine and a nice java jolt!
The environment is important. Quiet and dark are best but sometimes not possible, especially at work. I find that a set of headphones playing a boring podcast helps drown out most of the usual din. As for darkness, I’ll just drape a jacket over my head. I also find a nice blankie to be effective. If I’m at home, I employ my recliner. At work, it’s feet up on the desk. My usual nod lasts about 15-20 minutes.
If you are actually planning on doing this at work, please first discuss with your supervisor, or at least wait until they slip off into la-la land.