How to Nap (Without Feeling Exhausted Afterwards)

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Do you ever take a nap and wake up exhausted?  I recently was given two unscientific, but still useful tips for avoiding post-nap exhaustion.

  1. Don’t nap for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  2. Nap with a spoon in your right hand.

For the first tip, I’m sure to get a bunch of comments that say the actual number should be 30 or 45, or 13 minutes.  I don’t really care.  Twenty has been a useful number for me, so I’m offering it.

The second tip needs a little explanation.  If you sleep with a spoon in your hand, it’s important to make sure that hand is off the bed (or couch, chair, futon or whatever your napping hideout is).  Then, if you slip into deeper sleep, you’ll drop the spoon and wake up.  This helps you avoid slipping into the deeper phases of sleep which seem to contribute to post-nap fatigue if you interrupt them early.

Of course, this raises the questions of whether naps are even useful to begin with.  I’m a fan of regular 8-hour sleep and emergency-only napping.  Thomas Edison, however, believed in sleeping only a few hours each night and chronic napping.


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