A nap can be a precious ally if employed properly—seriously, naps have some amazing benefits. Certain demographics have conquered nodding off outside of their regular sleeping hours, namely toddler and college kids, but for those out of their proverbial napping prime, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. One AM vs. PM alarm mistake and suddenly you* have accidentally fallen asleep for far longer than anticipated and the whole world has changed drastically around you (*Rip Van Winkle.)
But there is a time-tested way to devote a negligible amount of time to rest and still feel entirely refreshed. The hack has been championed by the likes of Aristotle, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison, and comes to you courtesy of Lifehacker. A commenter on one of Lifehacker’s recent articles provided an anecdote from his high school days when a teacher regaled him with Abraham Lincoln’s preferred method of taking part in an efficient siesta.
“A teacher in high school told me a story (in response to me napping in his class) about Abraham Lincoln taking naps in a rocker with marbles in his hand. When he got deep enough that his hand would relax, the marbles would eventually fall into a pot, and at that point, he would be refreshed enough to continue about his day.”
Allen goes on to explain that although there seems to be no evidence of our 16th president using this method, there are plenty of other historical figures using the method.
Replicating the technique is pretty simple. Grab yourself a chair that you find comfortable and isn’t too low to the ground. Then take some sort of hard, non-breakable objects (although, holding a bunch of antique vases would probably do the trick) and grip them in your hand. Then, rest your hand off the side of the chair, above an object which would make plenty of ruckus if struck (you finally have some use for all of those snare drums you have lying around the house!). Then relax and try to fall asleep—here are some more tricks for taking a nap that energizes you.
Once your body slides into sleep mode and you lose consciousness, your grasp will loosen, and the marbles will fall, causing enough noise to wake you back up. This should put you nearly an hour and a half shy of REM sleep, with little risk of feeling like Robin Williams in Jumanji post-nap.
Having trouble sleeping in general? Make sure to check out these sleep secrets that doctors want you to know.