I think I should take naps. I stopped taking them when I was six and, frankly, things have been a little crazy ever since.
The benefits of napping are numerous. First of all, it’s what our bodies want. You’re not imagining that urge to sleep in the afternoon; it’s real. In a 24-hour period, our bodies experience two distinct dips in alertness, one at about 2:00 am and another at about 2:00 pm. Studies show that surrendering to the sleepy (at least for a short nap) would actually increase our awareness and boost our performance. Secondly, for the chronically sleep deprived (which is everyone I know), naps have the same positive effects as nighttime sleep – improved learning, alertness and productivity.
Plus, naps are cool. The list of well known nappers is impressive: Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci and John F. Kennedy, to name a few. My friends who nap all seem very Zen and confident. “I just took a nap,” they say, those bright-eyed slackers, and I marvel at the utter lack of apology in their voices. I want to join their club.
But I can’t. One of two things happens whenever I try to nap. Either I fall asleep instantly and sleep right through whatever alarm I’ve set to make sure I get up in twenty minutes, or I’m so nervous about doing that that I don’t sleep at all. The instant I begin to drift I awake with a start, staring at the clock, certain that hours have passed, when in fact, it’s only been a minute or two. It is, for me, the opposite of restful. It makes me cranky (which, ironically, used to be the sign that I needed a nap).
So the question of the day is… Do you nap?