What is your dream job?
For me, it's a job in which I get paid for dreaming.
Sad to say, professional sleepers are not in demand these days, or any days, for that matter. The good news is that you can get paid for sleeping if you do it in secret and in small doses. Best of all, if you do get caught, you can tell your boss — and yourself — that you're doing it to improve your productivity.
So says Tim Barribeau, the author of "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nap," a very welcome article on Wirecutter.
Napping does have a bad rap.
A good night's sleep is considered essential, but a good nap is shameful, especially in the working world. Managers who will put up with TPing the HR department and all manner of bonehead high jinks in the office are shocked to learn that an employee has found a hidey-hole for beddy-bye.
Of course, the risks of being caught inflagrante denapo are less of a problem when one is working from home. This is good news, since the distance between your work station and your sleep station is minimal, if it exists at all. (Pro tip: hang your laptop from the ceiling. Wear a work shirt instead of a nightshirt and you can appear vertical on Zoom calls, even though you are actually horizontal in bed. Warning: It is easier to fall asleep when you are participating in meetings from your bed, so be sure to put Mr. Fuzzy Bear, Barry Bunny, and all your other stuffies in the closet before you sign on.)
For me, the best part of Barribeau's article is not his acceptance of napping as an integral part of the workday, but his acknowledgement that napping is a skill.
Are you willing to put in the hard work it takes to become a master napper?
Rub the sleep from your eyes and let's get somnambulant.
No. 1: "Set aside time and embrace failure."
Master nappers do not impulsively snatch snoozes; they plan for them. If you are a beginner, you'll want to start with the MRN (Minimum Required Naps): the après-breakfast nap, the bookending pre-lunch and post-lunch naps, and the wrap nap. That last one starts an hour before you leave work and ends five minutes before you punch out.
As for embracing failure, it is possible that the novice napper will not manage to actually fall asleep during the scheduled time frame. Barribeau says that even if you are "just lying there breathing slowly, that's still better than the alternative."
I don't agree.
If performance anxiety impairs your napping program, simply reduce the time you spend doing and set aside more time for dozing. As Benjamin Franklin said, "If at first you do not nap, nap, nap again."
No. 2: "Get lulled to sleep."
According to Barribeau, "It's easy to ruminate and stress, and to spend half an hour digging through your mind's detritus rather than unplugging." This may be true for people who, unlike you, have not mastered the ancient Druid practice of Enlightened Emptyheadeadness. Keeping your mind a complete blank at all times is key to success, as a glance at your manager's career will tell you.
No. 3: "Set the scene."
Certain nap toys, many X-rated, are required by some people to successfully nap. The article includes "a sleep mask, ear plugs, a white noise machine, blackout curtains, weighted blankets, or pajamas" on its list of possible recommendations. You may also want to check the credit limit on your credit card, since the cost of buying all this junk would keep a Brazilian tree sloth awake.
Instead, take a tip from farsighted nappers, who have avoided the fad of weighted blankets by gaining a ginormous amount of weight during months of COVID-19 lockdown. You don't have to buy a weighted blanket if you are a weighted employee, though the purchase of a sturdy, new bed frame is essential.
No. 4: "Caffeine and power naps."
Some studies have shown that drinking coffee 20 minutes before you're scheduled to wake up can "supercharge your naps." This does seem counterintuitive; and the fact that the research was done at the Dunkin Donuts Institute, funded by a grant from Mrs. Folgers, may make you doubt this technique, but it is worth a try. The worst that can happen is that you'll stay up all night and not have the energy to complete a full schedule of napping the next day.
This is a terrible outcome, but the solution is obvious.
Take a nap.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: 5477687 at Pixabay