I just woke up after a 30-minute nap, but actually, I was gone about three and a half hours……or maybe the reverse is true. In any case, surrealistic power napping is something I’ve been training at, hard I might add, in recent years: the quick and fast plunge into dreamland only to climb quick out of the tunnel of skewed images and speedily-forgotten plot lines to be awake. Refreshed? Kind of, but more after a half hour of wandering through the house, trying to remember what day it is and why I was so excited about cleaning out a closet earlier. Confused? Absolutely.
Yet I strongly recommend the power nap, with these caveats:
- It’s easier to fall asleep quickly if you have a lightweight cat (five pounds or under) sleeping on your chest.
- Eye pillows? This is what they were invented for: sleeping in daylight.
- Upon waking, try gulping some cold coffee…..or taking a quick bath or shower…..or eating one small squall of high-quality dark chocolate. There are other ways to wake up, but in the interest of not disgusting my adult children, I won’t name them.
- It’s also good to step outside when you wake up. It immediately alerts you as to what hunk of day you’re in (morning, afternoon, early evening) and what season (note: the season part doesn’t always work in Kansas where our seasons like to dress up like one another).
- For a really difficult day, two power naps is not too much.
- Loud music (that you like) is also a good way to wake up.
- There’s a moment in the nap, when the veil between sleep is particularly thin and you can either wake up or go back to sleep. Choose wisely.
- These napettes can be done in cars. Park under a shady tree, lean back the seat, remember to lock the doors, and try to be on a street where people aren’t apt to tap on your window and scare you half to death.
- You can also power nap during particularly arduous meetings. Sit behind someone tall, and if you snore, snore loud enough to jolt yourself awake, turn toward someone else, and nicely say, “Hey, wake up.” If you’re discovered, say, “I sometimes make snorting sounds when thinking deeply,” and then suggest something so utterly brilliant that they’ll believe you.
- Remember that if you’re walking through walls, seeing your black lab turn into a panther or discovering there are 22 secret rooms in your basement, you’re probably napping. But if you’re seeing tent cities filling public parks, pictures of your junior high drill team on facebook, or someone suggesting you try the lavender-infused chocolate, you’re most likely awake.