I love a good nap. There are several kinds of naps, beginning at a few seconds, a couple minutes, twenty minutes, and my favorite…the lazy nap, which is nearly an hour or more. The lazy nap is the only one that gets one into the REM sleep, which is the most purifying and restorative sleep. If I can’t make it to the REM stage before household noise prevails, then I easily wake and am frustrated and groggy; not refreshed and energized! My children can attest to my attempts at naps when they were young and I desperately needed a little extra shut eye. They remember well the verbal threats of near “torture” if they could not be quiet for one measly hour. On such occasions their giggles and sometimes mini wars usually began about the time I would lay down and the noise would increase at a steady crescendo until I would give up and perhaps try coffee instead.
I admire the folks able to micro nap and hope to acquire that skill someday. It could really come in handy for those days when just a few seconds of stolen sleep could make all the difference. My dad was well known for taking all sorts of naps in all sorts of places, even occasionally public places!
But meantime, I’m resigned to try to speed up the onslaught of REM sleep sooner then average when attempting to engage in a “legal” nap in my own noisy home. My favorite day of the week for this luxury is Sunday, usually no sooner then 2:30 p.m., since we often have casual lunch company after church. Then, with dishes cleaned up, and everyone about their own hobby or nap, off I go to a cozy pile of pillows on a bed with one special pillow to cover my head and muffle noises. Sunday afternoon naps and quiet times date back to my childhood, where we often read books, snacked on bananas or cookies and sometimes fell asleep, even before the age of real nap appreciation had set in.
Other nap deterrents is accidentally ending up with our cat or one or both of the Bostons in the room with me. These furry companions can be quite cozy when they want to be, but they have many clever ways of ruining a perfect nap for me. First their route to the doggy door, which is in the master bedroom, becomes like a rush hour thoroughfare, with the Bostons suddenly needing to bark to protect me from every bird tweet or leaf blowing. When they feel they’ve got all the scarey things outside the french doors under control they scratch on the side of the bed to be lifted back up (never mind that if they wanted to they could jump it easily). I reluctantly lift them up, and they turn circles and finally settle down just upwind of my nose. At this point, they begin to relax and so does their intestinal stress!
At some point during the Boston fiasco, the geriatric cat has decided she needs to scratch her head on the pillow that I have over my own head. This is not a gentle scratch. I think she believes she has antlers that need the velvet removed and my pillow is the perfect tree. After I shove her away, she instead decides she would like to sleep on my arm and quite determinedly settles down to nap nose-to-one inch from my nose with whiskers supplying the final ticklish touch.
This is usually about the time that the phone rings and if I forgot to bring it back with me to the bedroom, I practice my 50 yard dash from the tangled zoo on my bed, open the door, dash around the corner to the end table at the far end of the couch where usually sit one or more oblivious teenagers engrossed in their laptops or other gizmos.
Coming from the recliner at the other end of the living room sounds like the rhythmic noise of a freight train, but is actually the snores of my husband, who is deep in REM. Meantime the Bostons have followed me out and cozy up on the recliner with him.
Finally, in no time, I sink into a deep sleep. I hear tell there is often the sound of a second freight train, but I don’t believe it. Sometime later I wake up. Is it minutes, hours or days? Where am I? What am I supposed to be doing? What day is this? I momentarily think Rip Van Winkle has nothing on me. I look out the french doors and let my brain cells gather data for a few seconds. I’m still not sure about anything, but head out to see the clock and the coffee pot. Now that, at last, is a perfect Sunday nap! According to Wikipedia, “Napping was found to be both physiologically and psychologically beneficial. Napping for 20 minutes can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity. Napping may benefit the heart. In a six-year study of Greek adults, researchers found that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.” What is your best method of rest and rejuvenation? Have you nailed down a regular method? Did you know March 10 is National Napping Day?