How to Take a 16 Minute Nap

Little kids don’t even know how good they have it. Someone cooks them three meals a day, not including snack time. They get to take exciting trips to the park and the library. Just about everything seems like the most exciting thing they’ve ever done, and the moment doesn’t fly by them. Above all though, they get naps. Oh, the naps. Nothing makes me more jealous of kids than the naps they begrudgingly get to take.

Naps are the miracle supplement of healthy, productive people and societies. People on the island of Ikaria, a place where they seemingly forget to die, living measurably longer than people anywhere else on earth, take long naps during the day. Geniuses like Einstein are known to have taken short naps throughout the day, Einstein was said to have held a pencil in his hand until he dropped it – waking him up the moment he entered the deepest sleep. Dogs nap every chance they get, and they’re the happiest creatures on earth.c7e58a0c7abc11e2af5a22000a9f18fb_7

I’m not a genius, or an Ikarian, but I’ve been able to reap the productivity and energy benefits of short naps in only 16 minutes a day. It’s simple, but like anything worth doing will take a little time to master.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Set an alarm for 30 minutes.
  2. Darken the room as much as possible. I nap on the massage table at the gym, or on a couch. Beds are for sleeping at night.
  3. Get comfortable, and warm. Ideally the room would be cool, and you’d have a blanket or something warm to cover your body.
  4. Close your eyes and and let your thoughts go. In the first few minutes, you’ll be thinking about work, relationships, bills, and everything else. Let those thoughts go, almost in a meditative way until you fall asleep.
  5. When you wake up in a fog, wondering if you fell asleep, you probably already did. Get up immediately.
  6. If your alarm goes off, whether or not you were sleeping or even fell asleep you are done for the day. Go on with your day.
  7. Repeat daily, or even throughout the day if time permits.

Most people won’t even fall asleep the first few times they try this, but with a little bit of practice you’ll find that you fall asleep quickly, probably within five minutes of closing your eyes. As an added bonus, you might find that you fall asleep more quickly at night as well.

You will find that you wake up feeling incredibly refreshed. I nap like this about two times per week, usually when I find that my afternoon grogginess is limiting my productivity or effectiveness. Those moments when you’re at your desk and you feel like you could just close your eyes and go to sleep are perfect.

P.S. Combine with an espresso shot before the nap (caffeine takes about 30 minutes to metabolize) for maximum horsepower.
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  1. Great to see a post about naps. Most people really don’t know how to do this and aren’t patient enough to keep try. Used effectively, I can get a 2-4 more hours of productivity in a day with a couple well timed naps.

    Couple tips that I’d recommend:
    Take a nap just before a meal; fir me the easiest is just before dinner. When I wake up, I’m still a little tired, but then quickly return to full consciousness by the time I’m eating.

    Tune out: Have nothing to distract your brain. No sounds or other peoples movements that can disrupt your brain waves. I keep earplugs handy and place something above my eyes. Don’t worry, your phone’s 16m alarm will still wake you.

    Zone out: loose you own self and let everything go to nothingness. Focus on breathing, have no tension and forget all your worldly issues. I imagine seeing my body, then zoom in on the smallest things inside my skin, cells, DNA, atoms, electrons… loose myself; or I go big and drift above it all, the Earth past the sun and the massive universe. Either way, I loose concern of self.

    Snooze: If you find yourself needing more time; go ahead and take it; but never more than 30m. Sleeping isn’t the intent, in-fact its not good to actually fall into deep sleep as it makes waking more difficult and can take away from normal sleep altogether making your nap routine harder to keep.

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