Remember in daycare when you were given a designated hour for nap time? Our restless toddler selves didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back it was the bomb. When done properly, power naps can work absolute wonders for your focus and productivity. I’ve always thought more workplaces should have nap rooms (The Huffington Post office in NYC has two) but it hasn’t quite taken off on Aussie shores yet.
So when I recently discovered that Sydney’s The Indigo Project runs nap classes, I gave a (sleepy) cheer! The boutique mindfulness studio in Surry Hills is the brainchild of psychologist Mary Hoang. She wanted to develop a space to help people ‘get their sh*t together’, by offering meditation, yoga, psychology, workshops, courses, events and retreats. All incredibly valuable wellness tools, of course. But being the perpetually tired individual I am, the class I was most excited to try was NapTime.
The inspiration for NapTime came from all those moments that I’ve desperately have wanted to get away from work and have a snooze – whether that was because of an accidental late night, a huge weekend or just lack of sleep. I just ended up fighting the sleepiness all day and being massively unproductive. I introduced NapTime to the studio as it’s pretty hard to find a place to nap in Sydney where you can be alone, safe and cosy.
-The Indigo Project founder and Principal Psychologist Mary Hoang
So, my co-workers and I decided to pop down to the studio one afternoon to give the 30 minute class a go. Because, as they say, teams who nap together… are more productive. Okay, they don’t say that, but they probably should!
The space itself is a beautiful converted warehouse, with plenty of natural light streaming in. I immediately felt more relaxed just by walking in! The NapTime class is held in roomy yoga studio. Yoga mats, blankets, eye masks, pillows and bolsters had all been laid out for us. After we got comfy and popped on our eye masks, Mary led us through a 10 minute guided meditation. “Don’t put any pressure on yourself to fall asleep,” she gently reminded us. “Even a light rest will do you good.”
After the meditation, Mary left us to have a 20 minute nap. For the first five minutes, I found it strange trying to get to sleep in a room with other people. But once I took the pressure off myself to nod off (as Mary suggested), I found myself entering a very relaxed, almost meditative state. While thanks to the two coffees I had chugged that day I didn’t quite get to sleep, I came very close. When our time was up, Mary gently eased us back into reality. Once we were all conscious, we were handed ice cold coconut waters. We put our shoes back on and headed up to the gorgeous rooftop garden to enjoy our beverages. It’s a community space (with free wi-fi!) so anyone in the area can come up for some much-needed R&R.
I had entered the studio yawning and with a huge headache and left feeling refreshed and focused. I’ll definitely be back for NapTime again, this time without all the caffeine so I can actually get to sleep!
Research shows that the optimal time for a nap is between 20 and 24 minutes. Anything less is not quite enough and anything more will just leave you feeling disorientated. I’m sure we’ve all woken up after an impromptu hour-long nap and not known what year it was, let alone what time! The fact that the nap portion of the class is only 20 minutes long puts it right in that sweet spot for the many benefits.
The benefits of taking a nap are improved mood, increased productivity and alertness.
Yep, gone are the days when napping was just for the lazy and unambitious (and toddlers). Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Kim Kardashian West swears by a afternoon nap to power through a long day. And with The Indigo Project’s NapTime only taking up 30 minutes of your day (at just $12 a class), it’s set to become a permanent fixture in Sydney-siders’ lives too!