Have I Been Napping Wrong?

I’ve always had trouble napping. I could be dead tired and in need of a nap, but I’ll close my eyes and nothing will happen. Sometimes my mind will race. Sometimes it won’t. I would say the odds of me being able to fall asleep for 20-40 minutes was about 10-20% until recently. The fact I have trouble napping seems odd because I am a champion night sleeper.

At night, I tend to fall asleep within a minute of closing my eyes, usually around 10:30 PM. From there I often sleep a solid 8 hours. A few years ago I used to wake up early and be unable to fall back asleep. I’ve reduced that problem a lot and recently have been using the sugar/salt sleep hack with amazing back to sleep success.

In the past 5 years, my night sleep has gotten better and better, yet napping success has remained a mystery. However, recently I theorized that the techniques I use for successful night sleep are the wrong strategies for napping.

  • Completely dark environment with blackout blinds
  • Completely quiet environment

Since napping takes place when the sun is out and there is activity, does it make sense to make your napping environment the same as your nighttime sleeping environment? I started to think it didn’t. So I began experimenting. For the past few weeks I have been napping next to a window with some light coming in and I make sure there is some background music. The music is played at a low volume. I often use the site Calm.com for background noise.

Then I close my eyes and imagine a cat napping. And it is working.

Rainman napping

My old cat Rainman napping away in the sunlight. 

A few days ago, I tried to go back to my old way of napping and I couldn’t fall asleep. I put on some background sounds and opened the door to allow light into the room and I was able to fall asleep.

Is anyone using different techniques for napping than they use for regular sleep?

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