Eccentric Life Advice #20 – How to Nap

Each week Astrid Crosland provides instructions on how to improve your life in some small but important ways.

As a chronically fatigued person, I have experimented with several different approaches to supplement the nine hours I must slumber each evening in order to feel like a member of the living. Use these notes to guide your own experiments and I wish you merry rest in your near future.

There are numerous theories as to the ideal duration of a nap. Personally, I consider anything less than 30 minutes not to be a nap and instead to be a rest of your eyes. Anyone who can take a mythic seven-minute nap must have the mental fortitude and control of a higher being and should immediately start training their superior psychic abilities. I prefer naps of around 95 minutes as it is enough time for a full sleep cycle and a few minutes to return to the land of the waking.

If you are a frequent napper, you might want to give up on mascara during the day for a more comfortable napping experience. I also encourage you to embrace your dark circles, as it is both aesthetically dramatic and people are less likely to comment on your napping schedule if you look as exhausted as you feel.


If you are pushed for time, here is a technique I have used for several all-nighters: set a playlist of white noise or low-fi hip hop. Produce your favourite caffeinated beverage and consume it as quickly as you can, preferably all in one go. Set a timer for 20-30 minutes and lie down in darkness. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. With each breath, focus on releasing tension from a different part of your body, starting at your toes and isolating each muscle group, especially the centres of tension in the body, the neck, forehead, and butt. When your alarm rouses you, the caffeine ought to be kicking in, and you can return to whatever tasks you really should have prioritised during the daylight hours.