Four Levels Of Napping

An easy guide to grabbing some Z’s at the outset of Tryptophan Season

Dan Dibley
November 22, 2017 - 10:26 am

Having spent 20 years as a Morning Radio broadcaster, I have learned to live life as a semi-sleepless zombie. Getting up at 3:38am every weekday is a taxing, soul-draining routine that, if left unchecked, can lead to depression, anxiety, or worse.

I have discovered and elevated the Art of Napping, which is not as easy as just shutting your eyes and shutting it down. Depending on time, situation, location, and exhaustion, the nap that is needed may differ dramatically. With those factors and more in mind, on the eve of Thanksgiving and the annual engorgement that comes with it, here are the Four Levels of Napping.

LEVEL 1 – Cat Nap

Even though most cats sleep for hours at a time, the Cat Nap is deemed to be a short snooze. Usually spanning less than 20 minutes, this nap can be accomplished at your work cubicle, in your parked car, on BART, or anywhere you can close your eyes. A wadded-up sweatshirt acts as the pillow and there’s no blanket required.

LEVEL 2 – Solid Snooze

As you age (not so gracefully), this becomes the go-to nap of choice. Lasting between 20 minutes and an hour, this snooze usually takes place in a recliner, in front of a low-volume TV, with a favorite blanket draped across a tired torso. The feet are up, the head is back and a deeper sleep state is possible, with the elapsed time of the nap depending on outside forces.

LEVEL 3 – Principle of Horizontality

For this nap, getting your body into a horizontal position is absolutely critical. Whether it’s on the couch, the back of a truck, the floor, or a bed of nails, you’re looking at between 45 and 90 minutes for this nap. Waking up slightly groggy is a manageable side-effect to this deep sleep that allows you to completely rest your body and mind.


The acronym tells you everything you need to know about the Mother Of All Naps because at Level 4, you get Back In Bed. Close the blinds, turn the phone off, get back into your pajamas, put on your eye mask, and shut it down. Ideally there is no alarm-setting and you can grab up to 3 hours of restful sleep. Granted, you’ll wake up bewildered and largely useless the rest of the day but at least you’ll feel rested. 

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