A perfectly timed nap, set for the right amount of time, can do wonders for your brain. If you'd rather not set your alarm, or you just don't know when you'll actually fall asleep, try this natural method of timing your nap, attributed to Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, Aristotle and other wise people.
Photo by Bernt Rostad.
The Almost Bohemian blog outlines the "slumber with a key" method Salvador Dali wrote about in 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship. In this version, the nap is an extremely short one -- less than a minute or even less than a quarter of a second. However, you can use it to nap for longer but prevent yourself from getting into too deep a sleep. These are the steps:
1. Sleep sitting upright (Dali recommends a Spanish-style bony armchair)
2. Hold a key in your hand, between your fingers (for the bohemian, use a skeleton key)
3. Relax and fall asleep (but not for too long…)
4. As you fall asleep, you'll drop the key. Clang bang clang!
5. Wake up inspired!
According to the Art of Manliness, Dali placed a plate upside down on the floor below the hand with the key, so the key would clang the plate to wake him up. Dali, Einstein and others used this for inspiration:
These men were unknowingly taking advantage of what scientists today call the "hypnogogic" nap, when the mind, before it reaches Stage 2 sleep, unlocks free flowing creative thoughts.
Sleep without Sleeping [Almost Bohemian]