To Nap or Not To Nap

The alarm went off, and I hadn’t even really gone to sleep. I never drifted into full unconsciousness. But I laid there with the curtains closed and my eyes shut. I focused on my breathing, slow and steady. Focusing on my breathing helped me calm my mind and avoid the solo race it was trying to win.

It seems the second I have some peace, my mind begins to jump from thought to thought like a squirrel running through a field of acorns who’s unsure which acorn to grab. Instead of grabbing any acorns he just keeps running through the field merely touching acorn after acorn. I’m sure you don’t know what I’m talking about (that was sarcastic...you definitely know what I’m talking about). 

I sat up from the couch a little sleepy. The fire was still going in the fireplace and I could hear my wife’s music playing in the background from her computer in the bedroom. My daughter was still asleep.

This isn’t the morning I’m talking about...this is midday. This is my experience with a nap.

Now, I have been anti-nap my entire life. I’ve always thought it was a waste of time. A lazy man’s game. I pointed to people who napped and wrongfully accused, “You should get off your butt and do something with your life! You’re sleeping the day away!” But the more research and reading I’ve done about the power of naps, the more intrigued I’ve become with the act.

It normally takes me a long time to fall asleep. So I always assumed a nap had to be longer than an hour. I’ve had days where I was so incredibly exhausted I took a nap... and those naps were almost always 2 hours. Then I’d wake up feeling guilty for having wasted 2 hours in the middle of the day. 

Silly Derek. Oh, how far we’ve come.

After finally being intrigued enough with the data, I decided to try a nap for myself. And to be honest, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Napping may work for other people, but I’m immune. Naps are no good for me.”

Boy was I wrong.

You see, the research I’ve done says that some of the most successful and productive people all take a nap in the middle of the day. Normally after lunch. For about 20 to 30 minutes.

“20 to 30 minutes?! It takes me that long to fall asleep!” ...I thought to myself.

But again, intrigued by the data I wanted to give it a shot.

So I did.

And I’m convinced that napping is the best idea ever.

I took the advice of Michael Hyatt and had a quick cup of coffee right before my nap. After 20 minutes (I set my timer), I got up and drank some water. Within minutes, I felt like a new man! The rest of the day felt like a whole extra day within the day! (Confused? Me too...let me explain)

After my nap, I got a new burst of energy that lasted until I went to bed that night. I was surprised and ecstatic! I discovered the hidden power of napping! What have I been missing out on all this time?!

Maybe I’ll share the data with you someday, but for now I’d encourage you to try a twenty to thirty minute nap right after lunch and see what happens for the rest of your day. I’ve only done it once and I can’t wait to experience that kind of productivity again. 

So tell me, are you a napper? Or an anti-napper like I was? What do you feel are the benefits/drawbacks to napping? Leave a comment below and share your experience and experiments! 

Posted on February 6, 2016 .