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Famous Nappers 10: Tim Ferriss
The four-hour nap?
I’ve found that Tim Ferriss can be a polarizing character, and my own thoughts and feelings about him have waxed and waned over time. At times, I’ve found him to be intelligent, annoying, interesting, and pedantic, sometimes simultaneously, but I recently gained some respect for the man after reading something he wrote about 15 years ago.
Ferriss’ first book, 2007’s The 4-Hour Workweek, put him on the map and led to two more entries in the four-hour series — body and cooking — but today, I wanted to cover some different time intervals he’s discussed in the past vis-à-vis napping.1 In 2008, Tim wrote the following in a blog post entitled “Relax Like a Pro: 5 Steps to Hacking Your Sleep:”2
Test “caffeine naps” between 1-3 pm. Down an espresso and set your alarm for no more than 20 minutes, which prevents awakening in the middle of a restorative sleep cycle. Interrupting cycles often leaves you feeling worse than no sleep (though some researchers assert your performance will still improve in comparison with deprivation).
This is consistent with both science (see Dan Pink) and personal experience (see our dear friend and repeat contributorand his experience with the coffee nap) — so far, so good, Tim.
Ferriss goes on to write:
For longer naps, test multiples of 90 minutes, which is called an “ultradian” rhythm in some papers, though the proper term should be “infradian” since it’s less than 24 hours. Thomas Edison, despite his vocal disdain for sleep and claim to sleep only four hours per night, is reported to have taken two three-hour naps daily.
All in all, a slow clap for Tim Ferriss — I salute you and wish you great success in your future napping endeavors!
I’ll note here that I’ve read or listened to some of his books but have spent more time reading/listening to him in articles and podcasts, my point being that I don’t know if he’s discussed napping in writing, other than his blog.