Check out Sara Mednick’s talk about sleep’s role in memory, learning, and living a healthy life. She’s got an excellent book out, called Take a Nap! But if you’d like a shorter version, check out chapter 41 in The Practice of Practice. Nearly every world-class musician I interviewed for the book took naps regularly, usually after the main practice session of the day. It works, and Mednick explains why.
Here’s what author Phillip Roth said about naps:
SIMON: Is there something you’re taking more time for now that…
ROTH: Yeah, naps. Let me tell you about the nap. It’s absolutely fantastic. When I was a kid, my father was always trying to tell me how to be a man. And he said – I was maybe nine – he said, Philip, whenever you take a nap, take your clothes off and put a blanket over you and you’re going to sleep better. Well, as with everything, he was right. And so I now do that and I come back from the swimming pool I go to and I have my lunch and I read the paper and I take this glorious thing called a nap. And then the best part of it is that when you wake up, for the first 15 seconds you have no idea where you are. You’re just alive. That’s all you know and it’s bliss. It’s absolute bliss. So, I suggest – you’re still working but your time will come.
SIMON: That sounds like great advice.
ROTH: And take your clothes off.