I've fallen asleep in all the usual places, like on the couch watching TV, at movies, during chemistry class, at my desk at work, in meetings, on the beach, in the car, typing on the compiucvxz755555... huh? what just happened? Anyway, I can sleep anytime, anywhere. If only adult naptime was as common in this country as afternoon siestas are in Spain. Now this is a great idea. When you're in Kindergarten, the last thing you want to do in a room full of activities and friends is lie down by yourself and sleep; it's almost a punishment. But as an adult, we don't even get the opportunity, let alone the encouragement to nap... or do we? The latest trend in workplace wellness and productivity seems to be "nap rooms." Lots of companies are putting in break rooms designed for napping and "relaxation." I think this is a fantastic idea, and in my job as a staff health promoter, I think I need to start promoting this.
Spain has, in the last few years, cut down on their mid-day breaks for siestas. Apparently they used to take about 3 hours off in the early afternoon for lunch and a nap, but so many people live so far from work now, that it became impractical to go home for a siesta. Maybe they should incorporate nap rooms?
I've always wondered if "power-napping" was really worth anything. If I lie down for the recommened period of 20-30 minutes, I'll wake up 3 hours later; any earlier, and I don't feel at all refreshed. The latest research now says that after just six minutes (6 minutes!) of napping, you improve memory and learning skills. What happens during sleep, it is believed, is the consolidation of memories and the sorting out of all that your brain has been working so hard on during the wakeful period. It's the time of the day when things get filed away neatly so you can focus on what's really important. More sleep, please!
I have a theory that for each hour of training I do per day, I need an extra hour of sleep. It always seems to work out that way. Therefore, training, eating, and sleeping takes up most of my day during those months leading up to an Ironman. Think about it: I average 2-3 hours of training per day, another 1.5 hours for getting ready to swim/bike/run, 1 hour for showering and basic hygiene (3 showers/day x 20 mins) needed because of my training, I need my standard 9 hours + 2-3 hours (one for each training hour) of sleep, and 3 hours for buying, preparing, and eating all of the food my body requires, which leaves me with 3.5 hours per day of non-training, non-sleep related activities. No wonder work seems to get in the way. I generally try to make up for it on the weekends by taking 3-4 hour naps each day. No, really, I do!
I think it's noteworthy that Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, JFK, and Lance Armstrong were/are nap enthusiasts. Actually, why don't you sleep on that a while. I'm about to.....
Photo by Back in the Pack.