How to Optimize the Hell Out of a Power Nap

Serious napping requires serious solutions, from ostrich-like head coverings to memory-foam eye masks to weighted blankets.

Feb 24 2021, 8:29pm

Our brains are really good at tailspinning these days, which puts even the most seasoned of nappers in a crisis. How can we just  “close our eyes for a few minutes” when all we see is COVID-19, a new batch of 2021 conspiracy theories, and NYPD’s creepy AF Paw Patrol robot? We kindly ask that our senses be removed from this reality, and set to sail on a cloud of swanky pillowcases. We want to nap so hard, and so effectively, that it feels like we’ve crawled back inside the womb. Only, in silk boxers. 

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“Americans are more sleep-deprived than ever,” noted Alexandra Ossola in an article on best napping practices, “More than a third of us aren't getting enough sleep, according to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” That especially sucks because your post-nap self tends to be not just more alert, but "more creative (that is, if [you] get into REM sleep, which typically takes longer than the 20 minutes of a power nap.” Otherwise, she says the nap-length sweet spot is generally 20 to 30 minutes, and naps are best taken around 3 PM. The Spanish have been pros at this forever, and the need to slow down is riper than ever during those late-afternoon work hours—especially with the warmer months approaching.

When you find that you've hit that late-afternoon slump when you can't seem to focus on a dang thing, please listen to your body when it tells you, in VICE UK writer Daisy Jones' words, to "please, just lay down for fuck’s sake.” 

Alas, the art of the power nap isn’t the same as the art of pounding melatonin and peacing out for 10 hours. Napping without big REM dreams can still help you relax and feel refreshed; it’s more about separating yourself from your shitty office chair, and breaking up your home-work space ratio with a new atmosphere (put on one of those trending, rainy day ambiance videos on YouTube for that). For those of us who can't just knock out at a moment's notice, we summon the power of fast-acting sleep accessories that can help us achieve a little smattering of rest in-between Zoom calls (and won't leave us feeling groggy and disoriented). During These Strange and Uncertain Times , we need all the sensory comforts we can get—whether from a weighted blanket to burrito wrap over your body or a pillow that you can stick your entire head into. That sounds nice, right?

Beam yourself up to the mothership

Photo: Uncommon Goods

Sometimes we just don’t even have the bandwidth to mindlessly scroll through Instagram to fall asleep (not a great idea anyway, since blue light can keep you awake). This invention, however, requires the absolute least amount of effort from you. Just put the little disk on your nightstand, tap it once, and a pseudo-Aurora Borealis is beamed up to the ceiling to calm you down, and help pace your breathing. (There’s a wonderfully awkward video that shows this way better than we’re explaining). 

Dudow Moon Beam Sleep Aid, $60 at Uncommon Goods

Go full ostrich

Photo: Ostrichpillow

Like a Fleshlight for your face. Only not. You may remember the Ostrichpillow from places like SkyMall, late-night infomercials, or your own cooked dreams. Regardless of how you have or haven’t heard of it, the Ostrich offers a fairly intuitive schtick: Just stick your head in the hole to experience fully cocooned bliss. It even offers neck support, so you can truly nap anywhere in total solitude. I mean, would you approach someone wearing this on a park bench?  

Original Napping Pillow, $99 at Ostrichpillow

Burrito yourself in a weighted blanket

We don’t just want to be tucked-in. We want to feel like we’re sinking into the soil of an Irish bog, which is exactly what weighted blankets are good for; the concept is as easy as the name implies (it’s a heavy ass blanket, which is prime for relaxation). This affordable weighted blanket with a super-soft covering is a solid intro into the world of being weighed down, like someone you really like is lying on top of you. Not a bad thing. 

Maple Down Weighted Blanket, $45 at Amazon

A level 2 weighted blanket (makes for snazzy home decor)

Photo: Bearaby

Well. Won’t this look jaunty, poking-out-of-your-living room-decorative-basket lookin’ guy? This organic cotton napper is a wee bit more ~aesthetic~ than most weighted blankets thanks to its knitted material. 

Cotton Napper, $249 at Bearaby

A pillow that microdoses you CBD

Photo: The CBD Pillow

It was only a matter of time. Honestly, we’re really into the idea of a pillow that releases smart microdoses of pharmaceutical-grade, lab-certified CBD when you lay it, and wish this was our introduction to flying high (but in a chill way) instead of when we first tried buying Rice Krispie edibles in Golden Gate Park.  

The CBD Pillow, $129.00 $99 at CBD Pillow

To totally eclipse your eyeballs

Photo: Amazon

Calling bullshit on classic eye masks: The light always sneaks in. Not the case with this dude, which has an adjustable strap and, via the powers of memory foam, lightly suctions (not really; just firmly sits) on your eyes to bring them into total, anglerfish-level darkness, while providing room for your lashes to bat around with those slightly bulbous eye concaves. This sleep mask is great if you’re a Virgo or a vampire or just a generally uptight spooky person who loves to sleep on your back, but if you tend to toss and turn, go for a classic flat sleep mask by Brooklinen.

MZOO Sleep Eye Mask, $16.99 at Amazon

Get Pavlovian on your nose

Photo: Verishop

Most aroma diffusers look like giant AirPod containers, so we appreciate that this one looks like it rolled out of San Francisco’s legendary Tonga Room (FYI, we have one of the Tiki bar’s recipes and it’s served in a pineapple and looks really fun). Train your brain to know when it needs to be in slumber mode by turning on this eye-pleaser with some of the most relaxing essential oils (lavender, chamomile) when you want to knock out. 

Objecto W2 Aroma Diffuser,$69.99 at Verishop

Silky, go-everywhere unisex boxers

Photo: Fleur du Mal

While we absolutely want to be the main character in a Hallmark movie, it’s kind of pricey to get a full set of silk pajamas. So just splurge on a pair of coddle-my-genitals-in-silk boxers (suitable for any and every gender!). The fit is light and flowy, and ready to be paired with a hoodie and some Adidas flip flops for acceptable bodega-run and/or Pantsdrunk gear.

Unisex Washable Silk Boxers, $115 at Fleur du Mal

The sound machine from Sputnik

Photo: Yogasleep

First invented in 1962, this is the OG Dohm sound machine, and it honestly hasn’t changed much because it’s pretty damn perfect. You might not be able to hear seagulls or rainforest sounds from this plastic, but the creamy Dohm dream gives something a little more classic: “the soothing ambient sounds of rushing air, without the disturbance of actual moving air.” It’ll look great next to a retro chartreuse ashtray

Dohm Classic Natural Sound Machine, $44.95 at Yogasleep

A blackout curtain that’s equal parts sunshine

Photo: Society6

Blackout curtains tend to be pigeonholed into this all-dark, all-the-time aesthetic. Which just isn’t how things have to be (as much as we love that scene in the Birdbox). Society6 (which offers affordable wall art and housewares) has gazillions of designs of blackout curtains with patterns that say, Everyone in here is alive, thank you, from graphic shapes to curtains (see above) that look like they rolled out of a broken down van from 1981. 

Gradient Arch Vintage Orange Blackout Curtain, $118.99 $107.09 at Society6

Burrow into Guy Fieri’s frosted tips

There are endless novelty blankets on Amazon to create a most blessed or cursed nap; Opt for a Guy Fieri Flavortown homage for sweet paprika dreams, nestle in the chest of Jurassic Park-era zaddy Goldblum, or acquire a (one-star) rated Bee Movie throw to give someone you want to break up with. 

Guy Fieri Ultra-Soft Blanket Micro Fleece, $36.99 at Amazon

A pillowcase worth motorboating

Photo: Brooklinen

Fun fact: Silk pillowcases aren't just for turning your bed into some Fabio romance novel book cover; they're actually great for your skin and hair. If you don't want to awaken from your nap looking like Y2K-era Jesse Camp, it's smart to invest in one. Mulberries are just rich people blackberries, so of course mulberry silk is the swankiest fabric to smash your face into. It’s the highest-quality silk on the market, is naturally cool to the touch, and will help protect your follicles from pillow-crunch damage (yup, a real thing) whilst you shift positions during that hyper-speed REM cycle. 

Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, $69 at Brooklinen

Earplugs born from little clouds

Photo: Amazon

Many earplugs feel like baby bricks, but Howard’s trademark spongy plugs are the comfiest out there. Hands down. You can squash them flat, to an absolute pulp, and they will gently and safely expand in your ear to cancel out all the noise of the outside world. Of all our picks, these are truly the most back-in-the-womb essential. Grab a 25-pack, so you can keep some on call when/if we ever have houseguests again. 

Howard Leight by Honeywell Foam Earplugs, $7.80 at Amazon

Conversations with Carl

Photo: Bookshop

The GOAT of unintentional ASMR. While you can always watch Carl in Cosmos, there’s something about picking up a book of his “conversations” that feels a lot more like having him read you a personal bedtime story. Ordering from Bookshop will also help you sleep better at night, because 10 percent of its profits are periodically divided amongst indie bookstores. 

Conversations with Carl Sagan, $30 at Bookshop

Good night and good luck, nappers. See you on the other side of the siesta (or inside the Ostrichpillow, who knows). 


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Tagged:

CBD, shopping, Sleep, pillows, curtains, Sleeping, sleep aid, weighted blankets, nap, blanket

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