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

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

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The woman featured in the Better Together campaign's latest video  

Tea and no sympathy: The 'Better Together' campaign's mistake is to assume it knows how women think

Jane Merrick
On alert: Security cordons around Cardiff Castle ahead of this week’s Nato summit  

Ukraine crisis: Nato is at a crossroads. Where does it go from here?

Richard Shirreff
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution