I Love Naps
Posted by Gail | Filed under Thinking Out Loud
I’m a napper. When we used to travel hither and yon to shoot Til Debt, I’d arrive at the location after a 2-3 hour drive and take a nap. After lunch, while the crew set up for the next shoot, I’d nap in my car. Tash, my good friend and make-up chick, would let me sleep until about 10 minutes before I needed to do touch-ups and then she’d tap on my window gently. When we’d shoot in studio, if I needed some shut-eye, I’d just lie on the floor and grab some zzzzzs. Twenty minutes would give me enough reboot to go for hours.
Napping is frowned upon in our workaholic culture. I know I’m dating myself, but remember what a slug we thought Dagwood was passed out on the couch after consuming a giant, delicious sandwich. Naps have been declare the territory of the lazy and unambitious. Falling asleep at your desk and you’ll be frowned upon or scoffed at.
Did you know that the animal kingdom consists of polyphasic sleepers? Yup, they alternate their sleep and wake cycles through a 24-hour period. In the good old days in Rome, people hit the hay at at sexta (the sixth hour or their noon), which is where “siesta” comes from. But even countries that once integrated napping into their normal cycles have fallen pray to the go-go-go western business standards.
Napping can actually help with learning and working memory. It prevents information overload and heightens creativity. It bathes your brain in serotonin creating a more positive outlook. And it improves health by reducing the hormone cortisol in our bodies. Once study showed that those who take a half-hour nap three times a week or more, reduce their heart-related risk of dying by 37%.
Instead of heading to the coffee house to get a jolt to keep you going through the afternoon, lie down on the floor and grab 20 minutes of shut-eye. Never mind the embarrassment. That’s your grown-up brain clacking at you. Harken back to kindergarten when a glass of milk, a couple of cookies and the nap mat were the norm. Embrace your inner child and restore your energy.
Don’t forget to nap on weekends too. The nap is the key to my four-day weekend. You’d like one of those, right? I get up early on a Saturday, do some writing, have some breakie, feed a kid, throw in some laundry, do some gardening (or water my house plants), do my running-around errands and at about 2 I have a nap. When I wake up, it’s my Second Saturday. Ditto Sunday. Voila! A four-day weekend.