The art of napping

November 21, 2015

I’ve always resisted napping, afraid I might miss something. It’s the same reason I don’t like to sleep in. There’s a big world out there and it ticks along regardless of my sleep status–what if something big happens and I sleep through it?

And isn’t napping a waste of a perfectly good day? That’s my thinking. So if I’m tired and feeling like napping, I’ll resist it in favor of doing something “productive.”

I know. Here’s the conundrum.  Resisting sleep is something little kids do. But thinking we need to be productive? That’s 100 percent adult stuff. But I’m not so sure it’s smart.

My husband can nap at the drop of a hat, and does. In fact, his two-hour nap this afternoon was the catalyst for this post.

So why don’t more of us nap?

We’re too busy. We’re a society that gives kudos to people who over-work, over-perform and just plain over-do.

People who nap could be, we suspect, lazy? Maybe they’re too willing to sleep their lives away rather than…rather than WHAT?

Make more money? Take the kids to more soccer games, lessons and activities? What is it that our reluctance to nap says about us?

I think it says that we are not leading balanced lives.

People who nap have something to teach us.

Those people who nap? We should listen to them.

They recognize the contribution of “rest” to a balanced life.  That sufficient rest is necessary to perform at our best. That sometimes a good night’s sleep isn’t enough.  The willingness to nap means that we are listening to our bodies when they tell us we need a bit more rest.

Now, my husband had a full night’s sleep. But he also spent a couple hours doing some heavy gardening, trimming and cutting back our plants.  Once he’d finished and had lunch, he turned on his Kindle and began to read. Soon, though, his eyelids lowered, his breathing regulated and he was asleep. His body told him it was time to take a little rest, and he did.

Me? I was riveted to a book that I wanted to finish. But by my side, my dog, Riley, was sound asleep. For hours.  Dogs are great at napping.

And then, my eyes began to close and I decided to stop resisting.  I woke up 90 minutes later, refreshed and ready to finish the book. Which I did.

eat play napjpgConventional wisdom says that as we age, we need less sleep. But I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s harder for us to sleep. I think our bodies tell us when we need to rest and it’s smart to listen.

That’s what I’m going to do from now on. Which means I’ll spend more time napping than I ever have.

And that’s a good thing.

The “how-to”

  1. Find a comfy spot.
  2. If you need tools, like foam earplugs or an eye mask, have them at the ready.
  3. Put on something comfortable.
  4. Lie down.
  5. Relax.
  6. Nap.

What’s your relationship with napping?


10 comments on “The art of napping
  1. Lee Gaitan says:

    Call me if you need some tutoring, Carol. I’m a certified napping expert. I’m much more productive after a nap than I am trying to fight my way through the urge to close my eyes. Happy napping!

  2. Kay Lynn says:

    I have always loved naps; it was disappointing when my kids outgrew them because that meant mom no longer had the opportunity.

    Now that we’re empty nesters, I’m napping every day off possible. Sweet dreams!

  3. I love your sentiment! I am no longer an expert napper, but since my various brain injuries I am an expert at slowing down and staring into space (sometimes called meditation…) whenever my mind is tired of pretending to be productive. What does that even mean?

  4. Sasha says:

    I love a good nap. I try to take them, but am often thwarted by children who disagree that I need them. Sundays they usually happen with out interruption at least.

  5. Laurel Regan says:

    I never enjoyed naps until I was well into adulthood – like you, I felt as though if I were sleeping I’d be missing out on something good! Now, though, I think of naps as one of those “something good” things that I don’t want to miss out on. 🙂

  6. I wish I could nap!! I didn’t nap as a kid, so unless I’m uber exhausted, it’s a skill that’s eluded me. You’re so right about the sleep mask, however. If I know I want to sleep late on a Saturday, I put on my sleep mask before I go to sleep. Now if I could just make the dogs wear theirs. xoxox, Brenda

  7. I love a short nap in the afternoon. I’ve trained myself to fall asleep very quickly and nap for 15-30 minutes. I’ve been doing it for years and highly recommend it!

  8. Needing less sleep as we age is BULLSHIT. I love to nap….I often nap after my two tank dive on vacation. Ahhhh.

  9. Kate says:

    This afternoon it was cold and raining – perfect for a nap. So I helped myself to a delicious snooze, dogs curled up by my side. Life is good.

  10. I have four young children. Believe me, I could easily nap if given the chance. If I lie down, I sleep. (Okay, sometimes if I lean too long against something, I sleep).

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