Nicolas Ronco grew up in Tunisia, a country with a tradition of midday naps. Living with no air conditioning, he says, midday naps were "pretty much the only way to survive the heat." Even now, he recalls going to Africa and seeing lions and wildebeests napping "a few feet away from each other" in the midday heat. "When I asked the guides why, they told me that if they hunt now they will have a heatstroke and probably die. Midday is a time it’s not worth hunting."
Today Ronco runs New York City's Yelo Spa, a spa that, among other treatments, offers luxurious midday naps for stressed-out New Yorkers. The Huffington Post spoke with Ronco recently; we asked him for tips on how to create the best possible middle-of-the-day catnap.
Here are 5 hints from Ronco:
1. Don't nap for too long.
2. Wake up slowly.
"The alarm clock is the worst way to wake. It’s very starting and it doesn’t know where you are in your sleep cycle," Ronco says. At his spa, napping customers are woken with a five-minute simulated sunrise -- and he wakes to a sun-simulator alarm clock every day.
3. Relax before napping.
Many of Ronco's customers take naps after receiving other treatments. "What I was noticing when I went to spas was that at the end of the session you’re feeling really good, you’re on cloud nine, and the therapist will tell you 'Thank you very much for coming, I will be outside waiting for you, take your time.' And that's the worst because you’re feeling amazing and the only thing you’d like to do is stay on cloud nine for a few more minutes. So what our clients do is they usually take a 20 minute or even 30 minute nap at the end of their session so they can properly get awakened and get back to their usual routines."
4. Turn off all your electronic devices.
Ronco suggests that would-be nappers turn off all their electronic devices, including cellphones, televisions and even non-noisemaking devices like computers.
5. Seek quiet.
Ideally, a midday nap should take place in the darkest, quietest place you can find. Barring that, Ronco suggests putting on a sleep mask and earplugs for your snooze.