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The Zamboni for Your Brain

The science doesn't lie...

The Zamboni for Your Brain

By: Ross Paterson

The Zamboni for your Brain
(Check out the Power Nap Video)


As an Infantry Veteran, I have operated without sleep (or very little sleep) for long periods of time. We also slept frequently in very inhospitable conditions. Veterans in almost every branch of the military were forced to learn the life hack of the POWER NAP.

The science of the brain is overwhelmingly in favor of eyes-closed resting, or better, sleeping for 10-15 minutes. Research shows that most humans have a natural low-energy spot sometime between noon and 3:00 pm. Daniel Pink’s WHEN discusses the learned habit of the afternoon nap being a ‘Zamboni for your brain’. (The Zamboni is a machine that cleans and levels the ice between hockey periods.)

When the client schedule allows, this is how it works for me:

  1. As soon as I start to feel sleepy, the natural afternoon low, I put the code out to the team on Slack: #8min.
  2. I retire to the “nap room” – a storage room in the back with no windows and a chaise lounge chair.
  3. I set the timer on my phone for 20 minutes. The timer being set helps me relax.
  4. I turn off the lights, lie down, and close my eyes.

I have developed the ability to fall asleep in seconds, after just a few deep breaths. Usually, I wake up on my own and the timer says 12 minutes left (why we use #8min code). As soon as I exit the room, I pour my afternoon cold brew coffee and get back after it. I am noticeably more focused and productive after a power nap than if I just try to power through on caffeine alone.

If naps don’t work for you, experiment with other ways to clear your mind. Get away from your normal work spot, go for a walk, or turn on some music and stretch in the hall. You must interrupt your brain. (Hint: it should never involve cigarettes or mindlessly scrolling on your phone.)


In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, please share your most effective stress and fog-clearing practices.
Then schedule a brief meeting below with one of our consultants to see how we can help bring clarity and focus to you and your team. 
We will look forward to seeing you on the Xtra Mile.