Naps. I love them. They can turn a bad day into a good one. I know for a fact that a good nap can summarily erase all of a lover’s faults, undo hurt feelings, and combat crankiness.
A good nap even eradicates fear and anxiety, leaving a pool of peace and tranquility in its wake. Naps are great! It doesn’t matter what people call them- cat naps, power naps, rest breaks, a mental margarita, a snooze. Being in a state of repose, meditating, having a siesta, or as the French have it, taking un petit somme, means better health! Whatever the title, I recommend them sans résérvation.
I am not a sleep expert, but my personal research on the inter-webs supports napping for our health.
I will enumerate for those of us who like a good list.
- Digestive issues
Historical Napping. Let me just extol the virtues of the great and ancient tradition known as the NAP. At the height of the Roman empire, meals were taken while in a relaxed reclining position, to promote good digestion, and napping! Have we forgotten the painting entitled, “The Nap,” where we see a tiny little girl unceremoniously snoozing on a comfortable couch, unconcerned with the world and its encumbrances? (Incidentally, if you google paintings of naps, there is no doubt to our historical napping obsession.) And what about the classic painting by Albert Moore, known as “Dreamers.” Here we view several women who appear to be in some eternal slumber, lounging in splendorous surroundings, sparsely enrobed, nearly nude in toga garb. This scene says to me that if normal napping is heavenly, then naked napping must, indeed, be ethereal. But I digress…
Regional Differences. The great cultures of Europe have known for centuries that a nice midday sabbatical is nothing short of miraculous in recharging and re-energizing oneself for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. It is still common today to see stores and small proprietary shops in Spain and France close their doors for a full three hours in honor of lunch and napping. And the beauty of it is that they see nothing wrong with it! They are not labeled as lazy oafs, they feel no shame, and they do not apologize. “Hang the lunch crowd and profitability!” they seem to be saying, “We’re slinking off for a good glass of wine and a snooze.” How did America let this amazing tradition go to pot? Our founding fathers were nothing if not hard-working, but give a gal a break! Let’s rethink our workaholic schedules and learn to enjoy some of this forbidden foreign napping.
Recent Acceptance. In the last decade, the youthful big-wigs of corporate America have, it seems, seen the light. They have brought the “power nap” into the workplace, complete with “quiet rooms,” touting it as the new and improved solution to sluggish productivity. Despite the fact that they are afraid to call it what it is (the taboo nursery phrase “nap time”), I agree with them wholeheartedly. If I could turn to my coworker in the next cubicle and say, “Hey, Nancy, take over for fifteen. It’s time for my nap,” I would return from that sweet release as the best little paper-pusher in Anytown, USA.
Yes, if we all went back to the practicality of kindergarten rest-time, we would all be better for it. Our moods would be altered without mood-altering (or illicit) drugs (and without the nasty side effects of death and imprisonment, I might add.) Clerical errors and accidents in the workplace, I feel sure, would decrease significantly. Even health experts admit that sleep deprivation is the culprit in so many illnesses and syndromes. And all of this could be avoided if we would simply accept our fallibility and basic need for strategic napping.
Practical Outcomes. Like the average five-year-old, an adult with a refreshing nap in his recent past is much more pleasant and pleasing at the end of the day. Imagine the changes! Five o’clock traffic jams and road rage would melt away. After a late-day nap at the office, we would give those aggressive drivers a disapproving look and a tsk-tsk finger, followed by an “oh, well,” smile and a placid “see-you-tomorrow-at-the-intersection” wave. Any afternoon ugliness at the elementary school parking lot between parent and child would dissolve into fairy tale scenes of skipping and laughing, sprinkled with hugs and kisses. Yes- in a nutshell, we might experience a daily family reunion in the style of Full House or Family Ties.
At this moment, I truly believe that a great nap could easily turn the world around. Has it ever occurred to the United States Government that a mandatory nap time might be all that the globe needs in order to move toward world peace? Okay, I admit that’s oversimplified, a bit glossed-over, but I am sincerely determined that naps must be one part of a greater solution to some of our centuries-old conflicts. Don’t you agree?
I have just awakened from a whacking-great two-hour afternoon nap. Can you tell?
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