MGU 40 | Taking Naps

 

In today’s hectic, non-stop work culture, it’s important to find rest in order to keep yourself going – which is why taking naps is absolutely essential. Naps, done right, are a powerful tool that leaves you recharged, rejuvenated and ready for basically anything that’s coming your way after. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen celebrate National Napping Day by talking about why you should be taking naps throughout the day. Who knows, the next great thing you do might just come after you finally get some shut-eye.

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Celebrating National Napping Day

For this episode of surprise topics that Jason has no idea, I was going to bring up. It’s another national holiday.

We could do every episode because there’s some made-up holiday every single day.

Yes and no, but I did go through the calendar and only pick national holidays that I thought would be interesting. It’s not like every episode is a day.

It better not be National Scone Day because we’re not going to fill up an episode about it. Maybe we could. I love scones but they have to be the right consistency. I find that scones are too dry.

You know that there’s a whole Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about the new season, the season in 2020 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. There is a whole episode about the perfect scone so that we won’t need to talk about it. 

That’s a thing. I agree and it’s rare. First of all, you go into a bakery. Not a lot of people have scones. Scone is on the line.

It’s not National Scone Day. Why are we even talking about this? 

What day is it?

It’s National Napping Day. 

We’re going to do an episode on naps is what you’re about to tell me.

Why not? This is an important part of our health and wellness. I took a nap. 

What are you talking about? What do you mean?

Three days a week, I wake up at 5:15 AM. I have found that if I don’t take a nap, it’s hard for me to make it until the end of the day especially if we’re doing an episode. There was one episode we made and I was sitting here the whole time regretting not taking a nap before. You should be thanking me that I took a nap because I feel very energized. 

Thank you for taking a nap.

I feel like this is an art form because I’ve struggled with taking naps my whole life and I still do. 

What is the struggle exactly?

We’re going to find out as I dig into some of the research about National Napping Day because just as we did in our previous episode, which was Read Across America Day if you haven’t read that episode yet. We found some interesting information about reading. This is part of the fun as we’re learning on the fly. We’re not always here to share wisdom, we’re also here to learn new wisdom.

I did read an article because I was also starting to implement occasional naps in 2019. Before you jump into what you found, I was reading an article that NASA did some research on napping. I don’t know if this was part of the space program with the astronauts for rejuvenation, but they found that the optimal time for mental and physical rejuvenation for a nap was around 22 minutes. For me, I started setting my clock for 25 minutes to get myself three minutes to settle in and then 22 minutes to go there. I have found, interestingly, that when I nap, if I do 30 minutes or less, I feel a good sense of renewal and rejuvenation. If I go 40 to 45 or an hour, I will wake up with that weird drugged cotton mouthy like, “Where am I?” I almost got too much rest. I found that there is a window that is optimal.

I look this up to confirm. This is part of my challenge is it takes 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you want to be asleep for 22 minutes, you should set your alarm for 45 minutes to give yourself plenty of time to fall asleep. This is what I do. I find that it’s interesting. I’ve had a lot of sleep challenges which we’ve talked about in other episodes. For me, one of the things that tend to happen when I’m taking naps is I feel anxious about the short amount of time I’m going to fall asleep that I have trouble sleeping. This happened during my nap. I gave myself a little under an hour because I knew that it would take me some time to fall asleep and usually twenty minutes doesn’t feel quite enough to me. When I give myself an hour, mentally I’m on edge that I can barely sleep. I experience a lot of anxiety during that time frame. My best naps are when I sleep without an alarm. However, I will sleep for hours. I allowed myself to take an unlimited nap and I slept for 3 or 4 hours straight.

How did you feel when you woke up?

I’m mindful that I only got 5 or 6 hours of sleep. My body was naturally trying to catch up to 8 or 9 hours which is what I feel best with. That’s what I struggle with a lot. The reason I wanted to talk about napping is there is a lot of data that napping is helpful. I’ve also heard the same thing that twenty minutes being the ideal. For me, I find it tricky. It’s like my brain is unhappy with the time constraints. However, I did take that nap. I don’t know exactly how long I was asleep during that hour-ish period of time I gave myself. I do feel rejuvenated, I feel energized. Even though immediately after waking up I didn’t feel I got enough sleep, it did have some impact on me. It took some time to sink in.

 MGU 40 | Taking Naps

Taking Naps: According to NASA’s research, the optimal time for physical and mental rejuvenation for a nap is around 22 minutes.

 

When you take a nap, do you employ blackout shades or a sleeping mask?

My little set up during the day since it’s bright and the room that I was sleeping in doesn’t have blackout shades, I have my body pillow which is one of the greatest things I’ve found for sleeping. It’s the Essentia Organic Memory Foam Pillow. It is one of the greatest things I’ve ever owned from my body. It makes such a huge impact for me because it gives my hip some elevation. I usually get some pain in my hips and my hip pain has gone almost entirely away after sleeping with the body pillow. Also, because of some of the sleep disturbances which are rooted in anxiety, it’s very comforting to have something completely surrounding me. It’s interesting because one of my friends is pregnant and women commonly use a body pillow when they’re pregnant so that their stomach can rest on something. She says she feels claustrophobic in a body pillow. It’s interesting how people are different, but for me, it gives me a sense of security to feel surrounded by something. That specific body pillow by Essentia has the perfect amount of padding. It’s huge, so it takes up my entire body. It’s amazing. I also have that great sleep mask called Dream Sleeper.

Sometimes I get too hot because it also covers the ears and does some sound buffering. I’ll vacillate between that one and one from Bed Bath and Beyond.

We’ve experimented with a lot of eye masks. 

My whole thing is doing as much sensory deprivation as possible whether I’m sleeping or napping. The reason I asked you about the blackout shades or the eye mask is sleeping in complete darkness or as close to complete darkness as possible helps your brain secrete more melatonin. I’ve had a lot of sleep issues in a couple of years. I’ve done a lot of biohacking in terms of consumables and technology.

Why do you get so upset when I said we’re talking about napping? 

I got triggered because it was like, “Another holiday, National Scone Day.”

There’s a whole point in picking. I’m using that as an excuse to talk about this. The third thing that I’ve found in addition to the body pillow and the sleep mask to give the sensory deprivation is also white noise. This has helped me over the years. I realized how much better I slept with white noise. I discovered it by having air filter going. The hum of an air filter was nice or the hum of a fan. I realized that I enjoyed that so much that I had trouble when I was traveling and didn’t have those sounds.

The apps work fairly well but the game-changer I discovered which is called the LectroFan. It’s a small device that plugs into the wall and it has twenty different white noise sounds and it’s supposed to sound like a fan. What’s great about that is it sounds more like a fan and the speaker on it got a different quality to it than my iPhone does. It affects me in a different way. It might be a frequency or it has different speakers that emit different qualities of sound. That is designed specifically for great white noise versus your phone for all different types of sounds. For me, having that little device makes a massive difference and it’s so perfectly calibrated. It fills the room with noise versus my phone didn’t quite.

Napping is an art form that some people struggle with their entire lives. Click To Tweet

Before I got the LectroFan, I also found great success in using SleepPhones which is a company that designs headphones specifically for sleeping. They have two different types. They have a wired type which is their old school which I’ve been using. They have Bluetooth that I was very skeptical about, but it works phenomenally well and they’re not that expensive. They’re $30 to $40. That was another great investment because depending on the environment that I’m in, a white noise machine may not cancel out all the noise. Sometimes, like Jason’s experience with his neighbors, if there’s a loud noise that is not being drowned out. Wearing a pair of headphones cancels out all noise. You could go to the extreme and have all these things I do simply because sleep is so important especially when it comes to napping. If you have such a short amount of window of time, you can’t risk not falling asleep or resting well. You need to have that quality sleep. Being armed with all of these different tools is helpful. 

For me, with nap time, it’s a much more reserved version of what I do before bedtime. The three things that I do is I have blackout shades in my bedroom, I’ll pull those. They’re not complete darkness but its close. I also do the sleep mask, this is for naps but then I do a restorative pose. The first person that taught me this was a doctor I was working with when I lived in my Venice house years ago. His name was Dr. Steven Stiteler. He’s in LA. He’s still practicing. He’s a great guy. He showed me what his favorite position for napping and rejuvenation was. You lay flat on the floor on your back and you put your legs up on a chair, a couch or an Ottoman as if it’s a 90-degree angle.

He said what this does is it relaxes and resets the parasympathetic nervous system. Sometimes with naps, I will lay on the floor of my bedroom, put my legs up on my bed frame and do my nap. With the eye mask on and the shades drawn, I don’t take any remedies for naps. I reserve those for nighttime because those are hardcore. I have a sleep cocktail. I have the last thing that I consumed before bed. I found that having my last meal 3 to 4 hours or more before I go to bed has also been beneficial for sleep I’ve noticed in my body. I’ve been using the Swanwick Blue Blockers that you turned me on to.

If I’m working at night, looking at my phone doing anything, the blue-blocking glasses are on. The last thing that I consume is tart cherry juice. It can’t be black cherry or sweet cherry because that has the most melatonin producing capabilities. I mix in a tablespoon of magnesium. I put in a little bit of elderflower extract and then I take these pills called Rest Well. They’re from a great company that I love called VRYeveryday. My friend Brenda makes these products and they’re all mental health supporting super herbs and superfoods. The Rest Well formula is a mix of a GABA, valerian, and hops.

I take two of those along with the tart cherry juice, the elderflower, and the magnesium. I also do CBD before bedtime. I have a whole supplement routine that I use as part of my biohacking regimen and much like you, Whitney, I love white noise. My mom sent me a couple of years ago a Honeywell air filter and it’s a small one. It’s not a whole-house air filter. I have a different one. It’s from a Blueair brand. I have the Blue filter, which is a house filter, it does the whole house. This small Honeywell filter acts not only as an air filter for the room, for my nasal issues, but also has a great sound. The pitch and the tone of it are so good.

It’s got to drown out the cats. 

It does. It drowns out the cats, it drowns out any road noise or cars going by. Although my house is set far enough back from the street. The one big challenge that I’ve had to up my game on is the neighbors will often throw these loud parties. They’ll have live bands in the backyard playing and they’ll go to sometimes 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM but to the point where I’ve had to call the cops on them. Since they go loud and they go until 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM on occasion, I’ve had to rely on using headphones. There’s an app that I use that has nature sounds because I find that my body loves the sound of a thunderstorm or rushing water. The app is the final option if all the other things are failing and the neighbors are having a rager, I put the headphones in and I use the nature sounds and then I can fall asleep.

You need a pair of those SleepPhones though because it’s such a huge difference when you sleep with flat headphones versus having a pair of earbuds in your ear. 

It is uncomfortable and it takes me a minute to adjust. The only concern is I’m going to be blunt about it is I’m not a fan of wireless earbuds.

They have a wired pair. You could borrow my wired pair because I rarely ever use them. 

I don’t like how my brain feels. I have a pair of wireless earbuds that I got a couple of years ago and I started to feel funky when I used them. My body is sensitive to EMF fields in general. From my body, there’s a lot of research about 5G and wireless tech being in our ears and stuff. My body doesn’t feel good about it. I don’t use wireless things in my ears. I try to limit my exposure to cell phones by putting it right up to my head.

Let’s look into some stats on napping. 

We gave you the NASA study that I mentioned, but you have some more, Whitney.

Those websites that we referenced last time are helpful, it’s called NationalToday.com. It’s got a great layout. What’s neat is they tell you about what day it is and they give you activities you could do and tips on whatever the subject matter is. It’s very well done. 

It’s niche and specific.

The National Napping Day falls in a few different days depending on the time of year or the year exactly. For 2020, it’s on March 9th. It’s not an official holiday as they said, but it’s the brainchild of the most credible sources, Dr. William Anthony, who’s a former Boston University researcher. It happens one day after daylight savings time which is always important to keep in mind. This is the day in the year when people are the most sleep-deprived. I’m very excited about daylight savings.

 MGU 40 | Taking Naps

Taking Naps: To get the sensory deprivation that makes taking a nap easier, you can employ body pillows, sleep masks, and white noise.

 

It means more sunlight.

It also falls during Natural Products Expo which we have an upcoming episode on that too. It is true that it’s easy to become sleep-deprived because you technically lose an hour of sleep depending on where you live. Some parts of the world do not celebrate daylight savings time. He wants to encourage people to take naps so that they can catch up. Revamping your sleep supplies is one of the things. It’s replacing the pillow. I cannot say enough about Essentia in general. They’re an incredible brand. Jason and I both have their mattresses but their pillows are even better than the mattress. I travel with a pillow. I have the one that goes around your neck. Why would you never use your Essentia travel pillow?

I do on occasion. I’m in my mode when I am traveling that I know where my suitcase is, I have my toiletries bag, I have my routine that I don’t have that pillow in a spot. Do you know where it would remind me of it?

Just put in your luggage.

That’s exactly what I was about to say. For me, it’s in a part of the closet that I wouldn’t normally look up and register. To your point, it’s about preparation and having in the luggage I’m going to use.

You could use the travel pillow for naps. When you lay on the floor, Jason, I wonder if that would be worth trying. I even bring it in the car for road trips because a lot of people nap during road trips. I always bring that pillow because a lot of people when they sleep on whether it’s a plane or a car, their heads will go forward which puts a lot of strain. What I love about the Essentia sleep pillow is that it snaps in the back, it covers your entire neck. Unlike a lot of pillows that are a lot thinner, this one is very thick so it keeps your neck up at a good angle so you can sleep better. There’s one other company that I got a pillow from a few years ago that I liked. I no longer have that pillow, but it was phenomenal. I was very impressed by it.

I’m very partial to Essentia because overall, their products are amazing. If you need to replace that pillow, that makes a big difference. NationalToday.com mentioned that some companies have started installing nap pods in their office which is smart. I wish that all companies offered this because when I used to work a full-time job, I would often take a nap during my lunch break. I’d be on the hunt for a place to nap. Sometimes I would sleep in my car. One of my jobs was that somebody is home and I would sleep on a couch in a room that I could go into. When I worked for Apple, for example, a lot of us would sometimes sleep in the corners, around the floor, put our heads on the lunch tables, whatever we could do to take naps. It’s sad. More places should embrace having a spot to nap. It would make a big difference in people’s productivity because mid-day napping increases motor performance and creativity. People that struggle with sleep whereas many people do, could benefit from a little nap during their lunch break. 

The first place that I saw that nap pods or areas that were dedicated rest areas for employees was at the Googleplex the first time I went there back in 2006. I remember seeing them and going like, “That is smart.” Obviously, they understand the research about productivity. To be honest, they want to keep people on the campus working as long as possible. Let’s be blunt about that. They want to take care of people.

I have to say, whenever I’ve gone into Google, Facebook, or any of these big tech companies, they’re offices are stellar. They’ve got great food, drinks, activities, places to sleep and exercise. I wish I had all that built-in to my life.

This is when Wellevatr decides to open its corporate office with free puppy cuddles.

Study shows that after taking a mid-day 60-minute nap, people get to handle more frustration and were less impulsive. That’s compared to people who watched a 60-minute nature documentary which is also relaxing. I didn’t think about that when you’re stressed out watching a nature documentary. 

It’s because the cinematography is so lovely, lush, and have someone Sir David Attenborough narrating. It’s very soothing.

I love that you know that name. I would never know that. 

I loved watching nature shows as a kid and I still do. It is a very meditative experience to watch a nature show.

This is another interesting fact. Apparently, many animals are called polyphasic sleepers. Meaning that they take multiple naps during the day. Until the invention of electricity and affordable artificial lighting, humans slept in at least two long stretches during the night. They first slept for about four hours called the first sleep then they woke up for a few hours during which they smoked, visited their friends, and ran other errands. They would go back to sleep for what is called second sleep. This pattern of sleeping went out of fashion by the seventeenth century as more and more people began to afford ways to artificially light up their homes after dark. I’ve thought about that too because it’s interesting how our society centers are days around certain periods of time. I wonder if a lot of our sleep challenges are based on the fact that the way that we work, live, and socialize is forced upon us. 

Some sleep disturbances that you encounter are rooted in anxiety. Click To Tweet

It’s out of thin with the natural rhythm of the world.

I love places like Spain where napping is part of the culture. We need to do more of that. We need to remove the stigma of napping. 

The interesting thing too was when I took my first trip to Costa Rica. I was there with a friend, Solomon. We were constructing a yoga ashram that he was building, not in the middle of the rainforest, but it was in a remote area. When it got dark, you went to sleep. There wasn’t a town to go to, a place to party, or there was no artificial light. We had candles. The point was when the sun went down, you went to bed. The sun comes up, you get up, you bathe, and you work. To me, in the modern civilized world, we have created technologies that have kept us out of rhythm with the natural cycles. We are attuning our body to an artificial cycle trying our best.

The DaysOfTheYear.com has a nice little quote that I feel like Jason would enjoy. This is from Barbara Jordan who said, “Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3:00 every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” Doesn’t that sound so sweet? 

It does because it appeals to the inner child.

That’s what we did as kids. 

It also made us less irritable. It made it easier to deal with. Most humans are children in adult bodies with technical educations. If our inner child is fed and taken care of and we’re feeling irritable or feeling fussy, I get grumpy all the time. I should take more naps.

This is also interesting. I mentioned Spain, they have their siesta. Apparently, in the Mediterranean, it’s a standard everywhere you go. In Italy, some people take 2 to 3-hour naps in the middle of the afternoon which is what I was talking about. It’s funny because when I say that to people, I feel embarrassed. 

Why?

There’s the stigma of, “You nap for that long. Is that healthy? Is that lazy?” I certainly don’t think so. I just keep it to myself except on this show. Part of it for the Mediterranean is because the hottest hours of the day occur in the middle of the afternoon. That’s when it makes sense to take a break. It also has to do with the circadian rhythms and the changeover point between the wake cycle and the sleep cycle. That’s why mid-afternoon is good. Another study, there’s a 37% reduction in occurrences of coronary mortality in those who take an afternoon nap regularly.

It has a direct benefit to your heart health. The whole cultural narrative because on this show, we love decoding and examining cultural narratives. The idea of laziness in a culture that is we talk about so much is work, hustle, grind, hit your goals, hit your dreams, etc. There’s a subconscious script running about, “You shouldn’t take a nap because that’s taking time away from work.” This laziness or this fear of judgment is counter to this cultural narrative that’s telling us we have to work ourselves and outwork everyone to make our dreams come true, hit our goals, crush it, and have bigger revenues. We’re in a workaholic society. Taking naps is rebellious.

Statistically, depending on the report that you read, one in three adults don’t get enough sleep. I’ve seen an upwards of 80% of people say that they have sleep challenges. If we can negate some of those sleep challenges by taking a nap. Hopefully, this episode has inspired people to get into that. There are a lot of different articles about it. There are all sorts of interesting history. Here are some others, decrease heart-related death, improve short-term alertness from a twenty-minute nap. That can help improve performance. Humans are the only mammals to plan or delay naps. When do you see your animals take naps all day long? To your point, Jason, we’ve conditioned ourselves not to do these things. Taking a mid-day nap can lower blood pressure, which is important.

 MGU 40 | Taking Naps

Taking Naps: In the modern world, we have created technologies that have kept us out of rhythm with the natural cycles. We are attuning our bodies to an artificial cycle.

 

I see a business opportunity here, Whitney.

What is it?

We’re going to start something called Nap Club. I don’t know what that means yet, but it came to my mind. There’s something here to encourage or get people together. There’s a space where it’s a bunch of nap pods with nondairy milk and cookies and we’re like, “Come and take a nap whenever you need one. Come to nap space.” People rent a nap pod, they get their milk and cookies, play some quiet music. I’m seeing a monetization opportunity.

I feel this might’ve been on Shark Tank. I saw it somewhere where there are nap pods. Companies can get them installed. There was definitely a phone booth or something. You go in and maybe that was on Shark Tank. I do think that would be neat. There might even be a business based around napping, you go into their location and you take a nap so your office doesn’t have to have it. 

That’s what I’m saying. Nap Club would be a physical location. For example, how many times you’re in the middle of New York City, you’re visiting Manhattan, you’re exhausted, you want a place to recharge. You’re like, “I don’t want to go all the way back to the hotel,” or whatever it is. You have a nap pod you could rent with milk and cookies at a physical location.

As children, naps made us less irritable and much easier to deal with. Click To Tweet

I don’t know if I want to do that.

I don’t know if I want to do that either.

Somebody else might want to if that doesn’t already exist. Maybe we should though. I agree. At conferences and trade shows, at Natural Products Expo, they have something like that. The trick is having enough for everybody.

It’s called the bathroom stall.

No thanks!

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