The Art of the Afternoon Nap

NapWho says napping is just for babies? I’d argue that it’s equally, if not more, important for adults to catch their afternoon z’s as well. In fact, science agrees with me and so does Spain. (Not to mention Thomas Edison, Leonardo DaVinci, Winston Churchill, and JFK).

I’ve always been a huge proponent for the afternoon nap. I often find myself yearning for a bit of shut-eye around two in the afternoon. It must be something in my DNA. In my college days, I could be found napping between my afternoon classes and swim practice. Other times, I’d sleep on the couches in the campus coffeehouse in between classes. A friend of mine had a double bed in her dorm room (unheard of!) and sometimes I’d sneak in there for a rest when she was gone so that I could nap in luxury.

There is an art to taking the perfect, most refreshing afternoon nap. Time is often limited and so it’s important to get the most restful sleep in the time you have available. Here are some ways you can create the environment for a perfect afternoon nap:

1) Lighting

It’s all about the natural lighting. I don’t need to sleep in pitch dark and I love it when natural light seeps into the room. To me, this is the perfect lighting for an afternoon nap:

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2) Temperature

The perfect temperature for a nap is cool enough so the use of a blanket is required, but not too cool where I have to add extra layers. I sleep better when cuddling with a blanket, so extreme heat won’t work. I also love a nice breeze blowing on me whether it’s from an overhead fan or through a screen window. Whenever possible, I try to nap near an open window.

3) Pillow Placement

For me, it’s all about pillow placement. I like to build a nest out of pillows and then burrow my head in between them. If you find yourself sleeping in an area without pillows, you can always use your bag or an article of clothing as a makeshift pillow. Here’s what my pillow nest looks like:

Head burrowed in pillows during a recent nap.
Head burrowed in pillows during a recent nap.
4) Companion

Recently, a mother posted adorable photos of her new dog and her small son taking naps together that went viral. The two are often nestled in each other’s arms while napping, making for a most relaxing sleep. Who doesn’t love cuddling with their favorite furry friend?!

And if you don’t have a furry friend you might find a human cuddle buddy helps you sleep, like on the episode of Friends where Joey accidentally falls asleep on the couch with Ross and finds it was the best nap of his life:

5) Wake up naturally, don’t set an alarm clock.

When it comes to napping, your body will wake you up when it’s decided its had enough sleep. Twenty minutes might do the trick, it might take two hours. I don’t sleep well when there’s pressure to wake up at a certain time. Ruins all of the fun of the afternoon nap!

Finally, try to avoid falling asleep when it’s light out and waking up in the dark. I get so disoriented when I wake up in the dark after lying down in the light that I often forget what day it is and what I’m actually supposed to be doing. It sends me into a panic, thus negating all of the tranquility created by taking the afternoon nap.

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Although I’ve been writing on this blog for over a year now, I realized that I have never taken the time to actually introduce myself to you in person. So, without further ado, I give you my introductory vlog! I’ve been looking to expand into the vlogosphere for a while now and what better way to start than with an about me video? Let me know what you think. (Also, let me know what you think about the silver vest. Keep? Ditch?)

If It Ain’t Broke…

With the advent of Google Buzz, I’m starting to get tired of all the rapid changes in technology and social media.  If technology is going to progress so quickly, I’d like to be able to choose whether or not I can opt in or opt out of these changes.  For instance, Google Buzz simply swooped in and gave its Gmail users Twitter-like abilities and public profiles without fair warning. Facebook has changed its image and added more features so many times that it’s becoming frustrating.  What was wrong with the first 500 versions of the website? 

Today’s phones don’t just take calls, but also videos, photos, hold music, store important documents, act as a GPS, balance your check book, and count your calories.  Anything you’d want to do in your daily life, now there is a phone app for that.  Remember when text messaging was a novel concept?!

It’s hard to keep up with all these changes, especially when I preferred some of the older models better than their newer counterpoints.  I’m still adjusting to the fact that VHS tapes are out along with video rental stores like Blockbuster.

In honor of my favorite “oldies, but goodies,” here are 5 technologies that are fine just the way they are:

 1) The boom box.  Do you really need to bring your personal computer around with you to provide music at parties? The boom box did just fine.  Plus it still plays your old mix tapes.

 2) The overhead projector.  Invented during the 1940s, this is hands down the best way to display information on a wall in front of large groups of people.  No need to worry about memory stick problems or losing your connection to the internet during a presentation.

 3) A physical book.  No digital reader can ever replace the feeling of holding a book in your hands and feeling the pages between your fingers (and of course the new book smell).

 4) The Nokia cell phone.  I agree, we all need cell phones, but you can’t even use a touch screen with your winter gloves! Flip phones tend to snap in half eventually, but the Nokia can fly down a flight of stairs (and even survive a drop in the toilet) and still accept your calls and text messages.

 5) The single air conditioner unit. Forget central air.  I just want my bedroom to be cold. The noise these things make is soothing, especially if white noise helps you sleep. I don’t need my whole house to be cold all the time and I like how easy you can control the temperature on these things.

What are some of your favorite technological “oldies but goodies”?