So when was it that naps were deemed unnecessary? When did we decide that they were only good for babies and the elderly?
When my children were little naps were a life saver for both me and them. I called them “quiet time” because as they got a bit older the word nap was a no-no. I told them they didn’t have to sleep but needed to play quietly for an hour, more often than not they would fall asleep. Of course they stopped when they were in elementary school, but they seemed to have unending energy anyway. Middle school and high school had them busy with extra-curricular activities as well as studying. Frankly I have no idea what they did in college, but I am pretty sure their sleep habits included naps although I am sure they didn’t refer to them as such. More like ” God, I passed out for an hour.”
I remember when I was in middle school and high school I would come home get something to eat, turn on the tv and fall asleep on the couch. I am pretty sure that was not referred to as a nap, just fell asleep. It was my body telling me that I needed to rest and recharge. As adults we get up early and go to bed late and wonder why we are running on empty. Doctors suggest that sleep is an important part of your health plan to keep your immune system healthy and performing its job.
My mother used to nap regularly as she got older and I am pretty sure she did when we were growing up, but that was a different time (oh, so long ago!). I would come home from work and find her asleep in her reading chair, she would tell me that she took little cat naps during the day. I have trouble if I go to sleep too early because I tend to wake up at 2 in the morning unable to get to sleep, so I try not to nap too late because I think then it will push my bedtime even later.
This pandemic as well as my retirement has taught me that a well timed nap does wonders. No more than an hour after lunch and for only 30 minutes and my mind and body feel better and function better. If I am reading and I find myself fighting to stay awake I have to ask myself; why are you fighting it? Get comfortable and take a short nap. It is not an indulgence but as much as working out is a part of my fitness routine a nap is good for my health. I awake feeling refreshed and ready to take on the second part of my day. I do not always feel the need to take a nap on a daily basis, now especially as I am sleeping later in the morning, but when the need arises I will not apologize. People feel guilty if they are not going 24/7 and this isn’t good for them. You should never feel the need to justify taking care of your health.
The word Nap shouldn’t be a taboo or one just related to babies. So, tomorrow or whenever you feel a little stressed and tired get comfortable and settle in for a 30 minute nap, set the alarm so you don’t oversleep and get yourself recharged!