Napping Everywhere: Mid-day Sleep Around The World

I sleep everywhere. I like to sleep. Sleep is fun.

Sometimes I don’t sleep enough. I honestly think there are not enough good places to sleep in this world. This “modern society”. You can’t be home or even close to home all of the time.

We need more sleep.

Personally, I’ve tried to sleep at every job I’ve ever had. School too.

Bosses and teachers don’t always like when you sleep. They don’t really give you time to sleep.

That kind of sucks.

Bucking Authority and Sleeping During Class

Sleeping is good for the brain. I think sometimes you just have to have the balls to buck authority and go to sleep.

We haven’t had a license to sleep in class since kindergarten really. Nap time. Those were the days. Except when I couldn’t sleep. Then, I’d have to find something fun to do to occupy myself. Entertain myself. Like throwing my blanket across the room at the kids who could sleep. Ha! I got in trouble for that though. I wasn’t being very helpful.

In high school I taught myself how to sleep in every single class and get away with it. Open the book, pretend to be following along with the lecture, proper hand placement so the teacher couldn’t see my eyes. Every single class.

In Ms. May’s algebra class, I would take a small nap halfway through the test, then wake up and still finish the test before everybody else and get the best grade in the class.

The only class where sleeping was problematic was in computer graphics. I went to an Engineering high school. It was a class in AutoCAD. AutoCAD is just a combination of design and math, so it was particularly easy for me. I would finish my assignments before everybody else and then go to sleep at my desk. I didn’t even try to hide it. Why should I? I was done with the assignment and there was nothing else to do. He wasn’t even lecturing or anything. So I would be completely done for the day. He gave me P’s in conduct, which represents “poor”. I never understood that. I got some of the highest grades in the class. Straight A’s. I never understood why you would give your top performing student poor conduct grades just because he likes to sleep.

Teachers are silly.

Workplace and College Napping

Bosses are too. I’ve slept at every job I’ve ever had too. The funny thing is, my colleagues have always looked out for me and helped me get my naps in. They always respected me for it. They knew I worked hard.

My first job out of high school included drawing AutoCAD drawings for a cabinet shop. Just like AutoCAD class in school, I would finish early and then take a nap in my hands in front of the computer. It would be one of those high alert naps though since the door to the office was open and the boss’s office was nearby. I would have to pop up and just pretend like I was in deep thought about some problem and not actually sleeping if the boos ever came by.

My next job, I worked as a mover. This was a bit easier to sleep. Sometimes, we’d go around the city in big 18-wheeler trucks. There was always usually a sleeper in these trucks, so I would just crawl back there, lay down and sleep on the way to and from clients’ houses. (I was the passenger, not the driver) Some days though, we’d be in the warehouse packing customers furniture into storage vaults. On these days, I’d usually eat a quick lunch so that I could go hide in the back of the warehouse somewhere and sleep on some random client’s couch. These were the more high alert naps though – I had to pay attention for footsteps and pop up and pretend like I was doing something if I heard anyone coming back there.


Sleep well… Ride well…

In college,  I would often pull two chairs together in the PCL and pass out. That or convince some freshman girls to let me sleep in their dorm room in between classes.

Working as an equities trader was nice and easy. Since I was a limited partner and not an employee, I didn’t have to hide my napping anymore. I could sleep head down at my computer desk, go lay out on the couches in the break room, or – once I moved closer to the office – I would just go home midday and sleep.

Once I joined a consulting firm it was back to my old tricks. Turning the chair around so that my back was to the edge of the cubicle, printing out some article from HBR online  and putting it in front of me so it looked like I was reading something. Sometimes if the senior consultants were out at a client site, I could get my colleagues to cover for me and go take a nap in my car. In the parking garage. They would call me as soon as everybody came back from the client meeting. And then I could come back and act like I was coming from the restroom or something.

In my MBA program, early on we needed good places to sleep. The school got new couches for the lobby early in the year and I thought about starting a petition to put the old couches in some of the breakout rooms. Luckily, I didn’t have to – they went ahead and did it anyway. Then, it was a great place to sleep between classes or just take a break from team meetings and get a quick nap in. When I got to China, they said we couldn’t sleep around the campus like that because clients would be coming to the campus a lot and it wouldn’t look good. But, we had a break room area with an x-box in it, so you could still sleep on the couches there as long as some guys being loud and playing x-box doesn’t bother you.

When I first got to Singapore, I would just get on the MRT  when I felt tired in the middle of the day, find a good seat and just sleep on the train while going nowhere in particular. I’d ride to the end of the line and come back.

Honestly, I wish every place was like Singapore’s airport. That’s one of the coolest places and most conducive environments for sleeping in public than any place I’ve ever been. Definitely one of the reasons it’s the best airport in the world.

To be honest I’m a bit disappointed in Japan. As much as the Japanese like to sleep in public  you’d think it’d be more generally comfortable and conducive to sleeping while out and about around the city. But its really not. Well, I guess there’s the Manga cafe option. But that gets expensive if you do it everyday. Then again, anything in Japan gets expensive if you do it everyday including eating, having sex , or just plain staying alive.

Sleeping Makes You Smart

Honestly, modern cities, workplaces, societies, really do need to be more conducive to napping. It really is good for you.

Studies have shown that sleeping right after wrapping your head around difficult challenges allows things to settle and boosts your learning. Here’s link if you don’t believe me: It’s Practice, with Sleep, That Makes Perfect: Implications of Sleep-Dependent Learning and Plasticity for Skill Performance.

So, there you have it. Study hard, work hard….. sleep hard.

I was going to say something else about this too.. but that’s good enough for now. I’m tired. I think I’ll go take a nap.


Me, sleepy at UT’s Perry-Casteneda Library, circa 2005

[randomtext category=”Post Sigs”]

One thought on “Napping Everywhere: Mid-day Sleep Around The World

  1. It takes me a few hours to fall asleep, and as such I’ve never been a napper. As a kid the daycare I attended enforced a nap time. The other kids would sleep, and I would stare at the wall daydreaming to keep from going insane from boredom. I’ve tried using a lack of sleep to help me fall asleep faster, but it only works once in a blue moon. One time in university I stayed up for 36 hours working on an assignment that was due. I was soooo tired, but I couldn’t fall asleep, and I wanted to so badly that I just laid there crying for hours until it was nearing last call at the cafeteria. So I went, got some dinner, and tried again with eventual success.

    Once I do fall asleep I have nightmares almost every night, and have on several occasions experienced sleep paralysis. I nearly drowned once while swimming, and I’d have to say sleep paralysis is way scarier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s