An end to the napsperiment

Longtime blog readers will know that I sometimes have trouble falling asleep, and I am constantly on the lookout for lifestyle habits that minimize my tiredness and maximise my productive hours.

So far, I’ve quit smoking, quit drinking caffeine, stopped hitting snooze, and started waking up at a consistent time. All of these had some benefits, but none was a magic bullet. About a year ago, I thought I had found that bullet: napping. I started napping every day, between noon and 2 PM. Thus, even if I got limited sleep at night, I knew I only needed to power through 5 hours of being awake before I got to sleep again.

However, I’ve come to realize that napping is not perfect. My naps are often restless and full of nightmares. And I sometimes wake up feeling not-very-refreshed. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that if I just stay awake during the drowsy period that normally hits me between 1 and 3 PM, then during the evening I’ll naturally wake up again.

This leads me to think that napping is not really doing that much for me. Furthermore, I’ve been going for 90 minute naps, but I’m starting to think that 45 minute naps are just as good.

This has resulted in something of a paradigm shift. I think that perhaps tiredness is not the enemy. Like, maybe it’s okay to be tired sometimes. Lately, when I’ve been tired in the afternoons, I’ve just downshifted into lower-intensity work (like writing blog posts) and waited for my energy to pick up in the evening. I still nap on occasion, but not every day.

In this (as in everything in my life), I’m helped by not having to be at work in the afternoons. If I was still in the office, it’d be pretty difficult to just throw up my hands and say, “Welp, I’m not going to get anything done for the next few hours.”

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