Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Praise of Napping
I didn't rediscover naps until I was pregnant with my daughter. I worked at a children's hospital in the public relations department. We tallied and noted donations for the quarterly reports. This was back in the olden days (twenty-five years ago) when everyone used those long reams of paper that inched their way through the printer. I'm sure this all had a special name, but I can't remember what it was. And there may be agencies or offices that still use that kind of paper. The point is that the printer made this sort of rhythmic white noise when the paper printed out. Since computers could only do one thing at a time, I couldn't do any work while the reports were printing. The quarterly reports weren't too long, but the year-to-dates were quite lengthy. Of course, my only alternative was to close my office door, turn the ringer off on the phone, and lay my head down for a nap. It was awesome and helped me get through those last months in a much better mood than I would have otherwise.

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.

Everyone told me to nap when the baby napped, so when we brought her home, that's exactly what I did. As an infant, she napped about twice a day, morning and afternoon. I was so sad when she dropped her morning nap! But luckily, she continued her afternoon naps for another few years, and I was very grateful.

I remember that my mother often napped in the afternoon. It felt confining when I was a child and too old for naps myself, because we had to be sooooo quiet, tip toeing around the house. But when I think back and do the math, she was forty-seven when I was ten and my brother was seven. No wonder she was exhausted!

No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.

Of course, I'm certain naps are beneficial, or else how could I justify them? Luckily, The National  Sleep Foundation agrees with me. According to the NSF:

  • Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
  • Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
  • Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy.
  • Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
Two famous (and brilliant) nappers were Thomas Edison and Leonardo DaVinci. Need I say more?

There has been lots of drama and trauma in my life lately.....and way too much of both. Naps have been my saving grace. They have helped me stay on a more even keel, in spite of evidence to the contrary in the form of a meltdown or two, and regrettable rash action.

But today is a bright new day, made even better after my nap.

Are you a napper? Do they help you?

Have you been there?


  1. I AM a napper. Also, one of my mother's best friends, who is still a lovely 88 and had 10 children and has I believe 36 grandchildren, said that her formula for life happiness is a nap a day and a hershey bar a day. ;-)

  2. Looooove my naps! And chocolate, of course! ;)


Yes! I've been there, Claire!