The Art of the Snooze
Napper? Not me, not ever. My mother could never get me to take a mid-day lie-down in my crib (even as a newborn. I must’ve had a major case of FOMO, though the only thing I’d be missing out on was yet another episode of “As the World Turns”). I didn’t attend kindergarten, but entered first grade at age four. The good nuns at Epiphany were not much for encouraging an after lunch rest, because it would take valuable time away from memorizing the Baltimore Catechism.
And so it went. Eventually my peers stayed awake all day and, later, joined me in remaining alert far, far into the night. So it was a shocker when, as a newly pregnant person, I found myself unable to get through life without a nap. These I endured as a necessary evil, even as I hated the groggy, cranky feeling of waking up with a start at two in the afternoon. As soon as the next Seyfried was born, I’d transfer all my napping focus to trying to get the BABY down instead (with no more success than Joanie had had with infant me).
Over the decades, I would read about this or that successful person who swore by the Power Nap, but I never indulged. My hubby, in contrast, happily and almost daily would catch 40 winks sitting bolt upright at his desk, after which he’d awaken with extra pep in his step. And, of course, various travels exposed us to Nap Culture. When I visited my friend Lisa in New Orleans, she said that many offices closed for a good chunk of the afternoon, so that workers could escape the brutal heat with a snooze under a ceiling fan. In Barcelona, we learned that the locals take “siesta” quite seriously (apparently loooong siestas, because restaurants often don’t open for dinner until 8 PM or later). This was also the case in Italy, where the afternoon “riposo” is extremely popular. Though I’ve yet to get to either country, the residents of China and Japan reportedly enjoy their “wushui” or their “inemuri.”
Within the last few years, my sleep schedule has changed quite a bit. I now am up before the birds, and well before sunrise. By early afternoon, I can’t keep my eyes open. Enter the brief, restorative, wonderful nap! I find myself looking forward to climbing into bed (I even have a daybed in my home office), reading one paragraph of a book and then drifting away to Dreamland. I remind myself of my Nana Cunningham, who absolutely treasured her daily nap (as a child, I thought she was nuts. I know better now).
The world can turn without my active participation for a few minutes daily; arguably all will go MORE smoothly if I bow out for a bit. And life is waiting for me, to pick up where I left off, but now I tackle the remains of the day feeling refreshed.
Yay, naps! How does anyone manage without them?