Written by Dotty Winters


Adventures in Slumberland

Ever wish you could nod off in public but don’t know how to get away with it? Allow stealth-snooze expert Dotty Winters to fill you in on the art of Ninja Napping.

alarm clock

My CV is chock-full of transferable skills: card tricks, throwing shade, swim lane strategising. But chief among my useful talents is the ability to have a little sleep anywhere, anytime, so I’d like to share some of the tips I’ve gathered during my Adventures in Slumberland.

Let’s be clear: I am not talking about Power Napping. Power Napping sounds like something virtuous that might improve your complexion, enhance your career or prevent road traffic accidents. It is the sort of activity that a shiny-suited executive might extol the virtues of; they’d probably prefix it with the word “cheeky”.

For all its virtues Power Napping isn’t adventurous: I prefer Ninja Napping.

The most important principle of public napping is not to allow your sense of shame to cramp your style. If you are worried about waking up glued to the train window by your own drool you’re never going to relax sufficiently.

Should the worst happen and you wake up spooning a stranger (or ticket collector) it is important to maintain your dignity. Pull yourself up to your full height, remove any litter from your fringe, turn slowly to the spoonee, look them straight in the eye (trust me, they will already be looking at you) and say loudly: “How long have you been watching me sleep? What kind of weirdo are you?” You can then flounce grandly to the next train carriage and recommence your repose.

Pro tip: almost all nativity plays have the same basic plot so cast caution to the wind, settle down for a doze, remember to tell your little one that they did well and stride out of the assembly hall basking in the envy of less brazen parents.

I now know that it’s perfectly possible to have a nap DURING a meeting.

But for the very best dozing some preparation is required. I always carry a slanket, a cushion and a laminated sign reading: “Recharging my awesome: not actually dead” in my car for Car Park Cat Naps™. Years ago during a particularly grim work project that required very long days in the office I invented a device fashioned from two wire coat-hangers and a pashmina. This operated as a sort of head hammock to allow almost-comfortable snoozing in the toilets at work.

I’d simply gather some papers and a clipboard, stride purposely out of the office looking all meeting-y and catch some zzzzs. Of course, all of that was when I was young and foolish. I now know that it’s perfectly possible to have a nap DURING a meeting. Simply place some papers in front of you on the desk, rest your forehead on your hand with your elbow on the table and ensure that no one can see your closed eyes.

It is best in this scenario not to allow yourself to fall into a deep sleep – if you fall off your chair, snore or emit a sleep-fart your cover may be blown. You may find it useful to have some prepared phrases in case you awake to someone asking you a question. I like:

“I’ve been listening to all of this but can’t help wondering: what do we really MEAN by value?”

“It’s a good question, but I simply can’t see how any of this aligns to our strategic objectives.”

“It’s all very well asking me, but surely we should be asking our customers?”

Should you ever find yourself in the position of having to do interviews for recruitment this is the perfect time to catch up on any missed sleep. Candidates will assume it’s a test and will likely be too nervous to write anything too damning on you in permanent marker. Simply give the job to the person who is still there by the end of the day. If more than one candidate remains, appoint the one that draped a jacket over you to keep you warm.

One final tip: it matters where you doze. If Kirstie and Phil weren’t so busy obsessing over atriums they’d have told you that napping is where location matters most: if you fall asleep in the wrong car park you may see sights you’ll never recover from. Choose to Snooze. 40 Wink Responsibly.

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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.