May 30, 2014
Yesterday, the Metro News in Canada ran a story about a bear that took a nap atop a power pole. Fortunately, neither the bear nor the city’s power source suffered any damage.
The story reminded me of some of the unusual places that people take naps when they’re not at home. I’ve seen people fall asleep on buses and planes, at the movies or school performances, and in class or church. In most instances, these are unintended naps in which the napper accidentally falls asleep.
But, there are other times when people have to calculate how and where they can grab some away from home shut-eye. Sometimes it’s easy to do; other times, it requires a lot of planning.
At the University of California in Davis, it’s simple. If students can read a map, they can find a good place to nap. The University publishes an online “Nap Map” that offers 25 locations for napping on campus. Napping places are rated for comfort, noise level, lighting and safety – even for how much competition a student will face for the spot.
Grabbing a power nap at work is a lot more difficult. Unless you want to utilize the old under-the-desk technique perfected by George Costanza of the TV show Seinfeld, napping at work takes scheming. I certainly can’t provide as many suggestions as the University, but I can offer these five ideas:
1. In the restroom. Hey, it is a RESTroom, so why not take advantage of the inherent privacy a bathroom stall provides and grab a quick little nap? This isn’t a good idea, however, if there aren’t additional stalls available for other people.
2. In plain sight. If you’re lucky enough to have your face hidden from view when facing your computer monitor, you can nap right under your co-workers’ noses. Simply close your eyes and no one will be the wiser. Let people think you are reading a detailed online report or watching an important webinar. Keep your hand on your mouse and put on your glasses – if you wear them – to throw people off even more. Just try not to nod your head so far forward that your forehead rests on the keyboard. That’s a dead giveaway.
3. In your car. Use your lunchtime to catch 40 winks behind the wheel – when parked, of course. Drive your car to a safe napping spot, such as a large, store parking lot. Park far enough away that you won’t have to deal with nosy people walking by and looking in, yet close enough that if you scream, someone will hear you.
4. In the supply room. Pretend you’re looking for some hard-to-find item. Put that item in your hand in case someone walks in during your “search.” Sit on your knees or lean against the wall, rest your head on a shelf, and close your eyes. Those 5-10 minutes will feel like Heaven.
5. In a waiting area. This works only if you work in a building that is large enough to offer anonymity, like a big hospital. Find a quiet waiting area and sleep without guilt because you are waiting – you’re waiting to feel better and more alert after your nap.
The smartest idea, however, is to get the right amount of sleep you need each night so that you can be your best self when you’re awake. Power naps can offer brief relief when you’re tired and having trouble concentrating, but nothing can take the place of a good night’s sleep.
Now, somebody needs to climb up the power pole and tell that to the bear.
Have you ever taken a nap at work? Share your favorite, sneaky spot for a nap.