February 26, 2008

Cranky Fitness Takes a Nap

[By Crabby]

Do you like to nap?

When napping isn't scaring us by being correlated with strokes, we're all for it here at Cranky Fitness. If you have the sort of daily schedule in which you can slip a nap in, we say: go for it!

However, for me a nap is kind of like a massage: very enjoyable, but I'm never sure if I'm getting any therapeutic benefit from it. (When I get a massage it feels lovely, but I don't tend to find myself any less sore or tight the next day. In fact I'm often more sore and tight the next day, though my wallet does tend to feel a bit looser and lighter.)

Naps are cheaper than massages (I was going to say free, but read on--this post is actually a product review) but I'm not sure if they work for me. If I take a nap because I'm feeling sleepy and groggy, I enjoy it very much, but I tend to wake up feeling pretty much the same way. But my understanding is: for most people, power napping is a smart thing to do. Most people who are not Crabby McSlacker feel more energetic after a nap. Crabby just enjoys the hell out of them.

So when I got a pitch for a software product that would enable me to take an "energizer nap" and have all kinds of afternoon energy, I thought: cool! Especially if I can try it out without paying for it. I'm all for free things, and for having more afternoon energy. Plus, I loved the idea that it would give me a good excuse to experimental naps every day for a week or so in the name of blogging.

The thing is called "Pzizz", and I tried the Energizer nap version. ($29.95) It also comes in another version ($25.95; or $49.95 for both) that helps you go to sleep at night if you have insomnia. (Sorry Merry: perhaps I should have offered you this review opportunity instead of the laxatives?) More information about the product is available at the Pzizz website.

Pzizz isn't a CD; it's software you download and use to generate somewhat customized audios that you can listen to on your headphones while you nap. You can choose how long you want it and it adjusts accordingly. It plays music and has background sounds and a guy talks to you and gives you helpful suggestions about relaxing.

I call him Mr. Pzizz.

So here, in no particular order, are some thoughts about Mr. Pzizz and his software:

Good Things About Mr. Pzizz:

1. Mr. Pzizz says slightly different things each time he talks to you. This is because each time you want to use the recording you generate a new version. This is a VERY COOL feature! I've tried lots of relaxation and self-hypnosis tapes and they get old really fast--this will be an even nicer feature if they keep their promise to provide free updates. The more new things Mr. Pzizz is able to say, the better I like him. Right now, he still seems to repeat himself quite a bit from nap to nap, but there's usually at least something new.

2. Over time, you start to associate Mr. Pzizz with feeling sleepy. I can barely type right now, for example, because even the name Pzizz makes me very, very tired. When I started doing the Pzizz thing I didn't nap at all during the recording, I just thought it was supposed to relax you. Now I put on the headphones and conk out fairly quickly.

3. You can adjust the volume of Mr. Pzizz so that's he's quite audible over the sounds and music, if you want to hear his suggestions loud and clear. Or you can make it so you can barely hear him if you just want to snooze while he natters on.

4. Mr. Pzizz uses binaural-beat technology, which theoretically can help you "entrain your brain" to reach states of relaxation more quickly. (There is also a free version of binaural beat audio here, but it's not a whole fancy program like Pzizz.) Does this technology really work to help you relax more deeply? I'm not sure--but I bet it will if you think it will.

5. Because I promised Mr. Pzziz I'd give him a try, this got me in the habit of allocating 25 min a day to either relaxation or napping. Otherwise, I never get around to it. If you fork over money for the software, you may feel a similar commitment to your own relaxation just to justify the $29.95.

Not So Good Things About Pzizz:

1. Could they have thought of a less appealing name for a product than Pzizz? "Pzizzing" sounds like something you'd end up doing after eating too many beans for lunch, not something you'd pay money to do on purpose.

2. I can't quite figure out if you're supposed to be sleeping during these sessions, or just relaxing and absorbing hypnotic suggestions.

Both relaxation and napping have their benefits, but in my mind these are two different, mutually exclusive things. So if you're picky about whether you want to learn to relax, or to actually fall asleep, you might want a different product--or at least one with clearer instructions.

3. There aren't much in the way of "energizing" suggestions--just a couple of sentences when it's time to "wake up." So if you're like me and having a nap itself doesn't give you a whole bunch of energy, then you don't get much additional help from Mr. Pzizz. I've been really enjoying my little relaxation/nap experiences, but I haven't noticed any sudden burst of afternoon energy.

4. Technical issues: because you have to generate a new recording each time, it's hard to just jump in and nap. You need to wait (less than a minute, but still) for it to generate. And there's also no rewind button. So if you get all ready for your nap, start the recording, and then realize you need to pee or get a drink of water or something, too bad. You have to start over and generate a new nap.

5. It's $29.95.

Bottom Line: Would I buy it? Quite possibly! But then I've shelled out money for all kinds of odd relaxation/meditation stuff before, like Kelly Howell's CD's or the extremely freaky "Sphinx of the Imagination" by Hypnotica. I'm crap at relaxing on my own. And having spent a number of afternoons with Mr Pzizz I've actually grown quite fond of him. (I don't know if this will be a brief fling or a long-term relationship, but I do know I have a hot date with him this afternoon...)

How about you folks, how do you feel about naps, do they refresh you? Do you ever get to take them? Or how about relaxation tapes--ever buy any?

Is anyone else getting sleepy just reading this?


  1. Hmph. You always get to review the fun stuff ;)

    Why is this being marketed for naps? Can I use it at night instead? I must confess that I /hate/ napping. I never ever feel energized afterwards, I feel groggy and grumpy and ... well, I can't think of a lot of grrrr words at the moment, but it's not a feeling I crave.

    Probably if I lived somewhere like Spain I would feel differently. I read that multinational companies are trying to make the Spanish office workers give up the tradition of a Siesta in the middle of the day. Sounds unfair, if they enjoy it.

  2. zzzzzzz.....
    In my next life I want to come back as a cat...my little guy can nap anywhere, anytime. What a life!


  3. Merry--
    Yeah, they have a whole night version too--but somehow I didn't like the idea of trying to snuggle up next to my laptop in bed all night. Napping next to my laptop wasn't too bad, though. (I'm sure there's a way to export the recordings into itunes or something, but I didn't want to get into anything fancy just for a product review.)

    And Missicat, you're right! Any self respecting cat would laugh at the idea of needing help to nap.

  4. I don't really nap. For one thing, I don't have time. I'm at work all day. I come home, I work out, I make supper, I relax a bit (usually by reading), I go to bed. But even when I do have time, I don't find that I am able to nap during the day (the exception being when I am sick, or if I am extremely exhausted). I do sleep well at night though.

    The nap software sounds neat though - I was wondering while I read it whether it could be used to help one fall asleep at night. For a person who has trouble sleeping that would be really useful.

  5. The Bag Lady couldn't finish reading the review - she kept falling asleep. :)
    The name is a little strange. What did they need the P for? Simply Zizzz would have done, doncha think?

  6. I try to take a nap on Sundays as a treat. I find it easy to nap with my purring, fuzzy cat - maybe I could rent him out? About time he earns his keep!


  7. Serial napper here. Sometimes it's just a nap for its own sake, but most days I've listened to a self-hypnosis tape and then shut it off and sleep a while.
    My dad was also a serial napper. He napped after lunch and after supper for a half-hour or so each.
    I came by napism honestly.

  8. Hmm, I believe it should be spelled "nappism."

  9. I heard the other day that sleeping more than 8 hours shortens your life. That stinks b/c I love to sleep in on Saturdays.

  10. I don't know... my mother is a dedicated napster, and I can't stand it. Maybe I was adopted?

  11. I've always been jealous of good sleepers in general and nappers in particular. My sister-in-law is a professional power napper. Sigh. I've had diffuculties sleeping at night for years; napping, unless I'm super sick, has been out of the question.The few times I've napped I've woken up completely out of sorts.

    I wonder if Mr. Pzizz really could help me become the effortless napper that lurks inside me. I'd like to give him a try.

  12. I wish I could take more naps. It doesn't happen much during the week, but now that golf is back on TV on Sundays, I hope to get some good naps in. I love playing golf, but golf on Sunday TV is the perfect atmosphere to fall asleep to on a spring day. Anybody else agree? Nascar is too; even though I like watching it also.

  13. I love naps, but then, I love sleep. I've found short naps to be very nice - I can fall asleep quickly just about anywhere. That girl sleeping on the A train as it heads uptown? Often me. I wish the workday allowed for naps. Sigh.

  14. I used to nap a lot, but I have no will power and could never get myself up on time. What were planned as 20-minute naps always turned into 3-hour naps that left me feeling half dead. So I'm trying to kick the habit.

    Basically, I imagine that naps are a lot like crack. It might seem like a great idea at the time, but the hangover is just not worth it.

  15. I didn't like the way this study was presented by the national news. Naps by choice during the day are probably a good thing. Nodding off when you are doing something else, not so good. That's my take of the real information in the study. As for time sleeping,7-8 for women, 8-9 for men seems to be optimal. Woman need that extra hour to clean up after their untidy men, (see prior Crabby post and comments).
    Dr. J

  16. I don't normally nap very often, but on occasion, if I'm feeling very tired, I'll take part of my lunchbreak (about 20-30 minutes) and crawl under my desk for a nice snooze. There's no danger of falling asleep for a long time, since I'm on the floor and I set my cell phone to wake me up. But it's dark and gives me a chance to recharge. I don't don't feel a lot more energized, but at least a little more than had I just stayed awake.

    I have heard (I forget where) that if you drink caffeine right before taking a nap, you can wake up more energized. Apparently, it normally takes about 45 minutes for the caffeine zing to hit, so by the time you take your power nap and wake up, the caffeine'll hit you and energize.

  17. I nap every day, although it's more like a split-sleep sort of thing. I get energized after 10 pm, so I sleep for a couple hours in the early evening to keep from getting run down and sleep deprived.

    Sure, I could re-train my body clock to get all of my sleep at once, but I'm at my most creative late at night and I treasure those quiet hours when my husband and pets are asleep and I can immerse myself in my fiction writing without interruption.

    I come by a split-sleep schedule naturally. I'm half Spanish. Viva la siesta! :-)

  18. Just give my my nice comfy pillow, my quilt and some quiet. Don't need no stinkin' DVDs or CDs or anything fancy for my naps!

  19. A nap doesn't cross my mind unless I realize that my keyboard is about to touch my forehead. Then I have no trouble conking out on my own. Night time is the problem. Not getting to sleep so much as staying there.

  20. I LOVE my afternoon naps, as a matter of fact, I am heading right there after I finish typing this.

    Two keys for me:
    1) No more than thirty minutes. Longer than that and I wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck.
    2) I set a timer so that I keep myself in line time wise. Since I know I will wake up on time, I fall asleep immediately when my head hits the pillow.

    I am with bunnygirl. I get productive in the evening and taking a quick nap in the afternoon helps me through.

    Ok, goodnight all, see you in 30 minutes! :-)

  21. Hmmm...this intrigues me.
    My husband has to get up at (yuck) 4:25 AM for work and usually come shome from work, has a nap and then works out. Often when it comes to going to bed at 9ish when he should, he's just not into it, but without the nap in the afternoon he is a grump. This might help him sleep at night...

  22. I'm an expert at sleeping and can practically do so on command. I dozed of at 8pm last night for a nap. This may have something to do with my anemia, but then again, I don't feel any different now that I'm taking iron. Anyhoo, I've dabbled in the hypnosis downloads and I always wonder if I fall asleep to quickly to absorb the message.

    Haha, love your pros and cons!

  23. I guess I am the only suspicious person today. Once they get you hooked on either the nap or the night time put you to sleep voice, what's to stop them from introducing a few minor "suggestions" to you while you sleep? Like "donate all of your money to us", or "mock and scorn people that don't use our product". Or major like "Vote for Evil X for president", "War is good"? These would all come in the free upgrades and then they would have world domination in very short order. :o

    I nap when I have had trouble falling asleep at night. Which of course then means I can't fall asleep the next night and have to nap - and so on. Now that the habit is mostly broken, I think I will try to not nap again. Sometimes you just need to though.

    The sleep at night one might be a good idea for me, I have never been able to fall asleep right away when I go to bed. But only if they add, "you will exercise daily and not overeat" as the "suggestions".

  24. Reb said "what's to stop them from introducing a few minor "suggestions" to you while you sleep? Like..."

    My gosh, Reb .. you're right! Like.. "promote this product on your blog"..

    Poor Crabby! You never even saw it coming...

  25. I'm pretty sure the last time I got a nap was over a year ago (even then, can't do it for more than 10 minutes). Love them. Miss them. Can't wait to try one again.

  26. One reason I love working at home is nappy time. We did it as kids in grammar school so why did it have to go away along with recess. Whatever happened to recess?

    The thing about naps is that they help me refresh, and it gives my brain time to process. I sware every time I wake from a nap, I have tons of creative juices flowing once again, and answers to questions I couldn't figure out before. I highly recommend napping.

  27. That is really odd. Oh, Merry- I just read in Cosmo (no, I do not normally read that smut...ok, yes I do) that you should drink a cup of coffee, then lie down for your nap. This is because coffee takes approx 30 minutes to take effect. So, in theory, you should wake up from your nap just as it is kicking in and be doubly refreshed. Given the highly-scientific source, I'll give it a try, maybe it will work for you too.

  28. Stephanie, I wish I felt energized after I nap. I'm in the hit-by-a-truck component of the population. I love that it works for you!

    I'll have to try the caffeine trick next time I absolutely must nap. If Leth Reader and Cara both recommend it, must be something in it.
    (I think the last time I read Cosmo was when I was at the dentist. It's probably time for me to go back. Perhaps he'd let me nap while I'm being worked on, there's a thought!)

    And Hilary, you have a point. If Crabby starts making political statements or telling us to send all of our cash to this company... well...

  29. Ooh, you folks are giving me great ideas for Cranky Fitness Sleep Induction/World Domination products!

    Don your Slankets and put on your headphones everyone, it's time for a nap!

    Thanks everyone for your awesome comments. I'm afraid it was one of those days I couldn't get to the internet (or even squeeze in a nap) but I love hearing who's a napper and who isn't and what works best for getting the most out of those precious 20 or 30 minutes.

    I'd heard of the caffeine trick but never gotten around to trying it--maybe I should combine that with an "enegizer" nap and see what happens.

    Hmmm, say the word nap often enough and you get very, very sleepy.

  30. I noticed I repeated Leth. reader's comment after I already posted mine....Sometimes I just get ahead of myself, desperate to impart the knowledge I've gained from reading Cosmo. Sorry! Either way, I guess it's worth a try...two bloggers can't be wrong.

  31. Ahh - it's good to be back. I wandered into the blog, found a strange assortment of people sleeping under desks whilst a crab whispered sublimal messages at them.

    I knew I'd found my way back to the Crab Emporium.

    Hi Crabby!

  32. Dawn is back! Let's put away the subliminal tapes and break out the cream-filled apple donuts instead!

    I must go see what's up in the world of probiotics and Kiwi paranormal thrillers. Thanks so much for stopping by Dawn, we've missed you.

  33. have you tried the rabbit?


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