You’ve just finished Happy Hour and now you’ve got a couple of hours to kill before meeting your friends for a downtown rave. You could hang out at the bar and watch sports news on cable, but you’re thinking you need a little rest if you’re going to make it through the night. What you need is a disco nap―a quick snooze to recharge your batteries.
The term “disco nap” has been watered down to include any sort of daytime sleep to prepare for a night full of activity; you’ll find it defined as such in the Cambridge Online Dictionary. But in its purest form it is the night owl’s version of a power nap. The disco nap is both utilitarian and an art form if you do it right.
The Necessity of the Disco Nap
In European countries, it’s very common for people to be out socializing until the wee hours of the morning whether it’s a weeknight or the weekend. But then again, they aren’t like crazy Americans who have an unexplainable need to be up at the crack of dawn and on their way to work against the wishes of various parts of their bodies.
Europeans don’t seem to have the need for the disco nap, with the possible exception of Spaniards who, still to this day, go home in the middle of the day for a three-hour meal and rest period. But for us in the U.S., the disco nap is absolutely essential if one expects to make it past the stroke of midnight.
The key to successfully pulling off the ritual is to find a comfortable place where you’re able to get 20 to 30 minutes of shuteye without alarming anyone else. Using the end of the bar is not a good idea given the fact that you could give other patrons the impression you’ve passed out in a drunken stupor.
Good places for the disco nap include under a tree, the back seat of your car, or even your office if you have access after work hours. Wherever you choose, it should be near enough to a restroom to allow you to “freshen up” before hitting the town.
Please Don’t Drool
There are some definite rules of etiquette with the disco nap covering everything from drooling to snoring. As an example, if you’re prone to discharging mouth-based fluids when you sleep, it’s a good idea to nap by resting your head face down. There’s no need for others to see drool dripping down your chin and onto your clean, white shirt.
If anyone has told you your snoring resembles a freight train with a bad muffler, disco nap etiquette demands you find privacy before engaging in slumber. This is where the back seat of your car comes in handy. Just be sure to find an out-of-the-way place to park where you’re unlikely to come in contact with police officers or wild animals.
Lastly, good etiquette means you never ask someone to wake you up when it’s time to go-go. Most of us are pretty cranky upon waking, regardless of how short the snooze was. The last thing you need is to get snarky with someone you’re planning on partying away the night with.
Don’t Forget It’s a Nap
A big part of the art of disco napping is finding the balance between taking a nap and falling victim to deep, REM sleep. If you’re not familiar with REM sleep, it is that point where your eyes roll back in your head, your mouth starts twitching, and you say things you know you’re going to regret in the morning. Don’t go there.
Remember that the disco nap is just that: a nap. Twenty minutes or so is good for most people who sleep a regular seven to eight hours per night. If you’re having trouble naturally getting yourself back together after 20 minutes, you might want to practice at home before attempting the disco nap in public.
A good way to practice is to set your alarm and then put your head down on a chair on the opposite side of the room. When you hear that obnoxious sound you’ll be forced to get up and walk across the room to turn it off. After a couple of days of practice, you’ll hopefully be able to self-regulate. At that point you’re ready to try the disco nap outside the privacy of your home.
New disco nappers should take a friend with them the first time, just in case things get out of control. Make sure that friend knows you very well and is not embarrassed by your sometimes foolish antics. If anything goes wrong, you’ll still be able to laugh about it 10 years down the road.
The disco nap is a useful tool for partygoers of all ages. If you’ve mastered your technique, you know it’s entirely possible to successfully take a nap between Happy Hour and a long night out. If you’re new to the art, you might not be so sure. Just keep practicing and you’ll eventually get it. If your friend can do it so can you!