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16 November 2006 — Power Nap (4)

It used to be, long ago, that I needed a good, sound nap when I got home from work. I was drowsy all day. I would nod off at my desk. Driving was dangerous. In retrospect it's clear that my sleep problems were due to several factors:

  • I wasn't getting enough sleep. I was going to bed at midnight and getting up at 5:30.
  • I wasn't getting quality sleep. My sleep apnea was preventing me from reaching the restful REM stage.
  • I wasn't getting enough exercise.
  • I was eating poorly. My sugar-laden diet encouraged crashes.
I still get tired during the day, but it's not nearly as bad as it once was.

Recently, Matt mentioned in passing that he sometimes used "iPod naps". "What are those?" I asked. He explained that Merlin had recently raved about iPod naps, directed meditations (for lack of a better word) that you can carry around on your iPod.

I still didn't understand.

Later, I did some research. It turns out that Merlin is fascinated by ultradian rhythms, and has been using a piece of software called pzizz to generate iPod naps. From the pzizz web site:


pzizz is a remarkable invention that combines several different proven techniques to help keep you feeling energized throughout the day. It combines Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques along with especially composed music, sound effects and a binaural beat to induce a wonderfully relaxed state, similar to that of the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.

Whilst in this deeply relaxed state, pzizz is able to deliver billions of different combinations of suggestions through the structured language patterns and the sounds. These encourage the subconscious not only to relax but also to focus and energize both the body and the mind.

Every time you press “play” or choose to “export” some naps, the software will mix a new soundtrack for you so that you never hear exactly the same thing twice!

I still didn't understand. I downloaded the two sample naps and loaded them on my iPod. Now I understand.

Each "nap" contains typical New Age music in the background. In the foreground, a man with a soothing voice talks you though the napping process. He asks you to relax, to close your eyes, to just drift away. I know that he continues to talk after I fall asleep, but I'm not sure what he's saying. At the end of the nap, he starts asking you to wake up. And it works! When he says to begin waking up, I begin waking up!

For the past week, whenever I'm tired I've listened to the "energizer nap". Placebo effect or reality, I wake after fifteen minutes feeling refreshed. It's eerie.

I know this probably sounds crazy. And maybe it is. But I like this idea so much that I intend to purchase pzizz so that I can create my own custom naps.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2005Overrated   In which I feel The Sting is an overrated movie.

2003The Literary Canon   In which I meditate at length on the nature of the literary canon.


Comments
On 16 November 2006 (12:04 PM), Cat said:

I've been thinking about trying pzizz for a while. You may have just convinced me. I don't often get tired during the day anymore, but this still sounds like a great way to end lunch hour.


On 16 November 2006 (12:24 PM), Lauren said:

Exactly right... the body cannot go without a certain number of hours per night of sleep (varies usually from 6-9 per person; mine is 7.5 hrs) and it's not made to focus intensely on something more than 90 minutes at a time without needing a break... and is certainly not meant to do 8-10 hrs of the same thing without a break, especially in front of a computer. Too much electromagnetic stuff for the brain and eyes to focus on!

A "break" every 90 minutes can even be a 5-min walk down the hall, a stretch... anything to change your position and move the muscles a bit.

The Pzizz sounds interesting... and doing less quantity blogging (but more quality blogging) in front of the computer will help also.

Your coach,
Lauren


On 19 November 2006 (04:36 PM), mary said:

Lauren - good tips! I'm going to try taking more breaks, because I've been waking up a lot in the middle of the night lately. And all I do is sit in front of a computer all day.

Has anyone tried the Sound Sleep Solutions audio?

There are samples here:

http://sound-sleep.stores.yahoo.net/music.html

I don't remember where exactly I found it, but there was a sample in there that's meant to sound like the womb -- I've been meaning to try it but I can't find any headphones comfortable to sleep in. Anyone have advice on that too?


On 29 November 2006 (08:44 PM), Steve said:

I found a track on itunes called Mind Mover that really can chill you out. It's completely different than anything I've ever heard. Downside is that it's 45 minutes long...upside is that it's a progressive relaxation and the sounds change over 45 minutes. It forces you to focus and relax.