Short Zzzzzs

Back in my twenties, when I lived a more nomadic lifestyle and slept little, someone told me that former President John Kennedy would take three-minute naps. I found the concept to be totally ridiculous. How could anyone sleep for three minutes? A short nap couldn’t work for me. The younger Joe, fired up with caffeine, adrenaline and testosterone, could never slow down that fast. But reality in my twenties is something else in my forties.

I find that a very short nap can recover my whole day. It’s worth a try for anyone going sluggish during the work day. I’ll plop down anywhere—couch, floor, bed—for 15 minutes. I probably sleep no more than five minutes, but the short Zzzzzs really pack wallop. In Googling for this post, I found a great primer, “Sleeping on the Job: Experts say afternoon naps can boost safety, productivity“, published in 2001 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

My recommendation: Sleep short and sweet. For most people, beyond 20 minutes and the body moves into a deeper sleep mode. Too long a nap and the sleeper gets the opposite effect: He or she is groggy and sluggish. The short nap revitalizes. The long nap impairs.

It’s a brutal, working weekend for me, which maybe is why I’m already thinking about naps.

Photo Credit: Molly Wilcox