There are plenty of potential excuses why you don’t take Dad Naps. Maybe you feel guilty for having a snooze during the day when you should be working or playing with the kids.
Or do you think napping is for losers (like Churchill, Thomas Edison, Einstein etc) so you don’t.
Maybe the kids nap time is the only hour you get to yourself to chill and read some great blogs (like this one for example).
All of these are poor excuses – even the last one. Instead your question should be this:
Can you afford not to Dad Nap?
Hopefully you don’t need more convincing that napping is a good idea. So how do you master the art of the Dad Nap? Keep reading and I’ll tell you:
Step 1: Be Free From Interruptions
If you’re going to have a truly epic nap, you need to choose a location where you’re not going to be interrupted or disturbed. At all.
This means going to a quiet room where there will be no interruptions from your wife, kids, electronic gadgets, phones or anything else for that matter. It might be a bedroom, attic or even your garden shed. As long as it’s quiet it’ll do the job.
One technique that works for me and my wife is ‘nap tag team‘. On weekends we’ll take it in turns to nap while the other watches the kids.
That way everyone gets a nap and there’s not resentment or accusations of shirking parental duties. Double win!
Make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. One of the best investments you can make is a good mattress. Mine is 100% memory foam and is so comfy that I miss it like crazy when I travel.
Have the room as dark as possible. Black out blinds will do the trick nicely. If you get hot, put a silent fan on.
You might want to wear a sleep mask – I personally find them a bit claustrophobic so I’ll give it a miss thanks.
Step 2: Choose an Optimal Nap Length
The length of your Dad Nap is pretty important. If it’s too short, you won’t get the benefits. Too long and it could affect your sleep quality later.
When I lived in East Africa I slept A LOT. I didn’t have electricity all that much and sunset was at 6pm. Every single day.
So I’d get a good 10-11 hours a night (unless woken by tropical storms, gun fire or bats climbing up the mosquito net in front of my face).
On Sundays I’d also nap for 2 hours.
The problem was that I was so napped-out I couldn’t sleep. So I’d lie awake wondering if there really were pygmies in the nearby mountains or if it was possible to travel by hand-glider to Sudan from my house.
So what is the optimal nap duration?
The National Sleep Foundation (see link above) suggest 20-30 minutes for overall alertness and mood.
I like to play the averages so I go for 25 minutes. I’ll set an alarm so as not to goover the time into sub-optimal nap territory.
Step 3: Use Breathing and Music for Extreme Napping
Breathing and music to have better naps? Are you insane?
Possibly – but it’s not connected to the whole napping thing. Some of my most intense nap experiences have been when I’ve been in a deep relaxed state brought about by a combination of Wim Hof deep breathing and binaural beats.
If listening to binaural beats or meditation music, make sure it’s for sleeping. Non drowsy mixes will have bells or chimes to prevent you from falling asleep which is in direct contravention of step 1.
I’ve had some of my best naps listening to this track:
To get the best effect you’ll need headphones. If the ear bud type are going to distract you, a big comfy pair may be a better choice.
Mixing deep breathing and relaxing music will allow you to wind down and enter a much more intense and peaceful sleep state which in turn will make you feel fresher on waking.
Summary: Go Forth and Have A Great Dad Nap
Do you now have an idea of why you weren’t any good at Dad Naps? You were doing it all wrong. You have to treat napping like it’s your job.
Why? Because it’s going to allow you to do your job better. Be a great Dad.
Don’t use excuses like ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I’ll feel guilty’. The real question is: can you afford not to have better naps?
Create the perfect environment, set a 30 minute alarm and relax into the best nap of your life.
P.S. Deep breathing might send you to sleep but my regular emails won’t. Sign up here.