CF Reviews

Excruciatingly Honest Opinions About Health and Fitness Products.

Tuesday, 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?

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