The 5 Secrets to the Perfect Nap (315)

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In this episode, I talk about the 5 Secrets to Taking the Perfect Nap. I go through the 5 secrets, according to Daniel Pink, from his book called The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Like many things, it is a system, and I love systems.

From the optimal time of day to optimal length, I think you will be completely surprised by #3, which is also an awesome hack.

I hope you get some value from these “secrets.”  Enjoy!

Full transcript below.

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Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:03

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the “How’d It Happen” Podcast for another Friday solo episode with me. So happy to have you here. And today, I’m just gonna do a little fun one. This is called the Five Secrets to Taking the Perfect Nap, the five secrets to taking the perfect nap. And these are from Daniel Pink’s book, which is called The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which came out in January of 2022. I will admit that I have not read the book. But I did read these five tips.

I don’t know how you feel about napping, but I go in streaks. I go months, probably, without taking a nap. And then I’ll go take two or three naps during a week when I’m, I don’t know, having a particularly tiring week. I always want to take a nap on Mondays and Thursdays because I train boxing on Monday and Thursday mornings typically. And it takes a lot out of me. And I always feel like when I’m on the way home from that I will definitely be taking a nap that afternoon. But oftentimes I do not. And when I do take naps, I’m all over the board. I’ll take a short nap, or lie down, say I’m going to lie down for 15 minutes, and I’ll get up after 15 minutes. And at other times I say I’m gonna lie down for 15 minutes and an hour and a half later, having turned off the alarm that I set, I’m getting up from my nap. And I don’t know about you either. But naps, I like taking them. I don’t feel like whether I’m 15 minutes for a nap or whether I’m an hour and a half for a nap that I’m that feel more or less refreshed. So I’m not sure what the proper duration is. I’m not sure, you know, when I should actually take a nap and when I shouldn’t. And I’m actually not sure what to expect.

What was so interesting about these five secrets is that it is a roadmap for taking what the author calls the perfect nap. And I’d like you to try it. Let me know what you think. Because it’s kind of, you know, it’s a system. And I love systems, so you may love this system as well. So if you do try it, let me know what you think. So here are the five secrets to taking the perfect nap.

Number one: Find your afternoon low point. It says the best time for a nap is generally about seven hours after waking, which for me would be about one o’clock in the afternoon. And I’ve never taken a nap at one o’clock in the afternoon. But that’s what it says the ideal time is, about seven hours after waking to be more precise. Note your afternoon mood and energy levels for a week to find your optimal nap time. So I think anecdotally mine is probably around three o’clock. It would be interesting to see what yours is.

Number two: Create a peaceful environment. Turn off your phone notifications. If you’ve got a door, close it. And if you’ve got a couch, use it. So I think he’s talking about the office environment here. And turning off notifications; I turn my phone to silent all the time. Sometimes I keep it on silent all day long. But I always try to remember to put it to silent when I’m going to sleep or take a nap or to go to sleep. If you have a door, close it; if you’ve got a couch, use it. It all makes sense. I know it can be a little weird probably to take a nap at work, but who’s working at work anymore? It seems from what you read, nobody’s working at work at a workplace anymore. I know that’s not true. But yeah, it’s still a little awkward to take a nap at work, and of course, at a lot of jobs you, cannot take a nap. So let’s just say that for those of you who have the opportunity to do something like that at work, good for you. But for those who don’t, this is a do-it-at-home kind of thing.

Number three: this is interesting — Down a cup of coffee. Yes, you heard that right. The most efficient nap is the Napa-chino. Caffeine takes about 25 minutes to engage in your bloodstream. So drink a cup of coffee right before you lie down.

Number four: Set a timer for 25 minutes. Now, this is getting into the time. What’s an optimal nap? Between 10 and 20 minutes, it measurably boost alertness and mental function without leaving you sleepier than before. When you wake up, the caffeine is just beginning to kick in. That’s a nice little hack. I don’t really generally believe in hacks, but that’s an interesting hack. And I guess if, you know, coffee or cappuccino isn’t your thing. There are plenty of things out there with caffeine and iced tea, soda, whatever your deal is.

And then number five: Like all processes, right, repeat consistently. There’s evidence that habitual nappers get more from their naps than infrequent nappers like me, I’m infrequent. So if you have the flexibility, make an afternoon nap, a regular ritual. So if nothing else, if you don’t feel like trying it, or it’s just not right for you, at least you know, at least according to Daniel Pink, what the five secrets to taking the perfect nap are. And again these came from his book, which is called when The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

So I hope you got some value from this today. And if you did, let me know and I do. Thank you for joining me and until next time, please maximize your greatness. Thanks!

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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