I never thought I would become someone who slept on the floor at trade shows. It's gross, people can steal your stuff, and I will repeat one more time that it's gross. As a general principle, I also believe that naps are a waste of time. As Drake once reiterated, "I don't take naps. Me and the money are way too attached to go and do that." In fact, I used to be the person who took photos of people sleeping at trade shows for entertainment. So what broke me? How did I become the person I've been trying to avoid becoming my whole career as a Core77 Editor? The answer is a three letter acronym: CES.
Going into my first CES experience, I had confidence: "I'll be fine. CES is just a regular trade show."
I was not fine, and CES is not a regular trade show.
Around four hours into each day, the exhaustion would hit me—almost like getting hit by a truck but exponentially less graphic. My feet began to swell from the heat generated inside my most comfortable sneakers. It hurt to take another step. I became my worst level of hangry seemingly out of nowhere, even though I ate a snack just 10 minutes before. I wondered if I could physically and emotionally attend the interview of a lifetime I scheduled with Yves Béhar in 30 minutes. That's when I cracked.
My power nap lasted 20 minutes, and I have to say it was quite productive and invigorating. I learned a lot during this experience, and I feel my expertise on this subject is necessary to share with everyone attending this year. So, ahead of next week's madness, here are my 5 tips on how to take the perfect nap at CES (assuming you can't find a crazy sleep booth like the one below).
Step 1: Rid Yourself of Shame
At CES, your image means nothing, and no one cares about you. Just get over yourself and take the damn power nap. Worst case scenario you'll end up being a meme sensation in another country without even knowing it. Best case scenario you'll end up being a meme sensation in another country without even knowing it.
Step 2: Location, Location, Location
Once you accept yourself for who you've become and what you need to do, scout a location that has an outlet and wall space to support your weight. Once you find the perfect location, understand that you may have to physically fight people off who try to take it from you (Refer back to Step 1).
Once you sit down (it's okay if you're on the ground), immediately set an alarm on your phone. I guarantee you will not wake up unless you set an alarm. In fact, set it at full volume while you're at it. Be that person because drastic times call for drastic measures.
Step 3: Charge Everything
The real goal of CES is to take as little breaks as possible, so now is the time to charge all of your devices. If you have a portable phone battery on hand (which you should), that is the most important item to charge unless your phone is on 20% battery or less.
Step 4: Secure the Bag
Everyone carries expensive electronics at CES. iPads, laptops, fitness trackers, Samsung Galaxys, VR headsets—anything goes. Sometimes people even attend CES as expensive electronics via teleconference robot, and you definitely can't trust people who do that. So, beware of thieves and take the appropriate measures to deter them. Act like your bag and its contents are the last resources you have left to survive during the apocalypse. In reality, that's not too far off of an analogy.
Keep your valuables in a bag or backpack at all times during your nap. Sit on the ground with your back against the wall, hug your knees to your chest and place your bag in between your knees and chest. Loop your arms through your bag's straps to attach it to your body. Keep your electronics secure in your bag while they charge (except your phone, which you should hold in your hand so you can hear your alarm) by running the cords out through the top and zipping the zipper all the way to one corner. Make sure your arm covers the opening with the cords as you sleep. Rest your head forward on your knees/arms/bag as a pillow and to keep your valuables as out of sight as possible (See illustration below).
Waking up will be tough, even with your alarm. I recommend putting on eye masks during your nap and waking yourself up with a travel sized bottle of face spray(Refer back to Step 1) to make the process easier and to ensure you don't look too exhausted during your next meeting. Before you get up an go, pop a snack or two (I recommend these) and double check that you're not leaving anything behind.
After following these 5 steps, I made it to my interview with Yves on time. He couldn't tell that I had just been napping, but he did say that I looked dehydrated and handed me two bottles of water. They were both gone in under 10 minutes. I very much appreciated the kind gesture, and it goes to show that everyone's a tired, dehydrated, jet-lagged mess at CES. Even Yves Béhar.
On that note, my thoughts are with everyone who is attending CES this year! I hope your journeys are filled with rest, plenty of snacks and portable batteries for days. Oh, and if you see me around, don't say hi because I'll probably be asleep.
If you really want to say hi, come to one of the awesome events we're throwing at CES this year! Learn more and RSVP here.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.