Sue Arnold: Where to power-nap for a dollar a minute

Every successful man, from Napoleon to MrsThatcher, has indulged in the practice

Share
Related Topics

Before they did up the cavernous ground-floor ladies' powder room at the Savoy Hotel in London, there were a couple of dark brown velvet chaise longues in a corner on which you would occasionally come upon recumbent females with their eyes closed. Most of them weren't snoozing, they were being sick, having had too much to drink, but the old biddies who checked in the coats and refilled the cotton wool jars fussed over them with the same tenderness as if they had been ICU patients murmuring, "Would her ladyship care for another cushion, or a glass of iced water, perhaps."

You don't have to be titled to use a snooze room, but you do need a bit of cash - a dollar a minute is the going rate. To begin with, most people settle for 10 minutes, but once they've tried the experience and found how rewarding it is, they check in for at least an hour, usually after their flight. Snooze rooms are pretty basic: bed, table, chair, the decor soothing, the lights dimmable, and there's a choice of background music, or better still, silence. When I told my kids about this new development, one of them became very excited but it turned out he thought I had said schmooze rooms.

Needless to say, the American entrepreneur didn't call it snoozing. He called it power-napping, and every successful man from Napoleon to Churchill to Mrs Thatcher (who counts as one) indulged in the practice. Modern executives do it with their feet on the desk, my ex-husband could and often did fall asleep at the dinner table, but that wasn't power-napping, that was narcolepsy (dictionary definition: "short attacks of irresistible drowsiness") brought on, in his case, by an obsession with running marathons in the middle of the night, but that's another story.

It's only because most of us look so appalling when we are asleep that the idea of having designated places to grab a short nap when we're away from home or office is so appealing. You can always tell when people are pretending to be asleep. They just close their eyes and look peaceful, whereas if they really were asleep they would grunt and twitch and have their mouths open lopsidedly, emitting a steady stream of dribble. Unless, of course, they happen to be an enchanted princess in a fairy story, in which case, after 100 years they will still look sufficiently dry about the neck for a prince to want to kiss. That really is magic.

It was Churchill I think who advised, "after lunch sleep a while, after dinner walk a mile," a suggestion I wholeheartedly go along with, apart from walking a mile after dinner. Changing fashions in eating and drinking have made the post-lunch nap redundant because, unless it's a special occasion, no one really eats lunch any more or drinks anything stronger than fizzy water. It was only when I had lunch with my namesake from The Sun, Harry Arnold, its royal reporter in the Princess Di days, that I remembered how much booze those Fleet Street hacks could put away at lunchtime, especially the little ones.

Harry isn't much bigger than me. I was paying, by the way. We started with a couple of large gin and tonics followed by two bottles of wine. Nothing special, it was quantity rather than quality. And then, when I ordered coffee, Harry said: "You know something, I think I could just manage to squeeze in a large brandy with that," and indeed he could, handsomely, which is more than could be said for the way I felt. If there'd been a brown velvet chaise longue or better still a snooze room to hand, I would have collapsed into it, whereas Harry, unperturbed, sauntered off to do the splash about Fergie's latest canoodling.

Once, after a heavy lunch, I fell asleep interviewing a man from British Rail about the exciting initiatives they'd come up with for dealing with leaves on the line. It couldn't have been for very long, he was still talking about the same thing when I jerked awake. The main thing is, he didn't appear to notice, which doesn't say much for my interviewing skills. Textbooks reckon the ideal power nap last no longer than 15 minutes. After then it's straightforward sleep. Let's hope that American entrepreneur knows what he's doing.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Team Leader

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...

Recruitment Genius: Chef

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Chef is required to join one of the largest ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Day In a Page

Read Next
There are around 250 species of bumblebee in the world  

If you want to rumble a bumblebee, now’s your chance

Michael McCarthy
 

Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred

Simon Danczuk
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor