When I close my eyes I can recall the feel of the hard cement floor under my thin mat at kindergarten during mid-day. Ahhhh, nap time. I’d fight it for a nanosecond but because I’d played so hard, I couldn’t help drifting off with visions of the coconut cookie and juice we’d get when we woke.
As an adult, however, I never napped because I thought it meant weakness, as if you couldn’t get through your day without resting…like a child. But my opinions and habits about this delicious ‘sport’ have changed recently.
I started by asking my friends how they felt about naps and was surprised to learn that many did indeed imbibe and felt no guilt about it whatsoever. By briefly dropping off the edge of consciousness, many were able to steal extra time they needed to tackle tasks, either mental or physical. But what kind of naps and how long? While no formal survey was conducted, it seemed the best kind of naps were short, lasting 10 minutes to a half hour, whether sitting or lying down.
Then I started to experiment. Because it takes me 10 minutes to a half hour to even FALL asleep, I started out setting aside one hour for the nap. It was easy to let the feeling of drowsiness overcome me after lunch; sound familiar??? When my eyelids felt heavy and I found myself re-reading the same paragraph multiple times for comprehension, I knew it was time.
I hadn’t been lying down for five minutes when Kali thought it’d be fun to join me. Her warm body wedged against my butt kept me from tossing and turning. Sure enough, I fell asleep. My internal clock wasn’t used to this mid-day snooze, however, and I woke at 4:30 p.m. after nearly two and a half hours. Ugh!
Since that first nap experiment I’ve played around with times and places to hone my snoozing skills. While it appears the kindergarten nap has grown up, it’s still my goal to keep it short. Looks like I’ll just have to practice, practice, practice. Oh, and the guilt? The ‘scientific’ approach to perfecting this sport is keeping all guilt at bay. Plus, people in Latin countries as well as most European countries consider you odd if you DON’T indulge in the sacred, post-lunch, digestive ritual known as the nap.
Now Your Turn
|Baby Ben napping beside the river|
So, join me and kick off your shoes, close the shutters or lock your office door or put the sun shade on your car dash to reduce the amount of light and let your internal monitor default to the screen-saver mode. Visualize your body sinking into warm sand as your mind drifts off into a much-needed mini-vacation.
What about you? How do you feel about napping? Do you nap and, if so, how, when, where and for how long? Do you experience guilt from napping?