Andrew Wynne, Executive Coach and Chair, The Executive Connection

How did you first discover the nap?

My first introduction to the nap wasn’t exactly positive. At boarding school, we were forced to have a rest for 30 mins after lunch. My peers and I resented this, and we generally spent the time getting up to mischief, fidgeting, or wishing the time to pass.

Later in life when I was a university student cramming for exams, I found I could study well in the morning using 25 minute work sprints followed by 5 minute breaks (the Pomodoro technique), but come late morning or early afternoon I would often feel really drowsy, especially if I was short on sleep from the night before. I came across an article that explained how to take a power nap. Within a few days of practising it, I was able to fall asleep, and within a few weeks I was able to wake up before the alarm feeling much refreshed, with absolutely no grogginess or drowsiness.  I could walk straight back to my desk and get stuck in again.

When, where and how do you nap?

I go through phases depending on travel and work circumstances. But I would say I manage to nap 5 days out of the week. When working from home I manage to fit this in regularly. When visiting clients, I am able to practice the nap in the car before meetings. Or even squeeze in a nap on the train whilst commuting, or in a toilet cubicle! Depending on where I am and my surroundings, a nap might be as short as 2 minutes, or if I have somewhere quiet to lie down, as long as 8 minutes.

Tell us how you feel typically feel ‘before’ and ‘after’ a nap.

Before napping: drowsy, foggy, sluggish,

Nap: I wake automatically in under 10 mins  and I never need an alarm.

After napping: completely revived, absolutely no grogginess.

If I don’t fall asleep within a short space of time, (say in two minutes), or if I find I get caught up in thoughts or planning, I just get up and continue my day. (No hard feelings, there will be another time)! I think this is an important point that has helped me. I don’t get stressed or upset. I simply think ‘well ok, you were not tired enough, so you are all good. Maybe we can try later”. 

What’s the stand out benefit that keeps you coming back for more?

The amazing feeling of being restored, in such a short period of time. I often compare it to rebooting your computer when it gets sluggish. Whilst it only takes a few minutes to shut everything down, restart, and reload, it can seem like a chore or something that slows you down. But when you do it, everything works so much better -and so do you!!

My confidence in my ability to nap even when I am under the pump gives me such confidence to tackle any challenge.  I  even managed to take a few naps during a 24-hour endurance event (a hundred miler) I took part in, and this was a life-saver!