It’s been several weeks since Part 1 of Napman, but events intervened. Happy new year, I say. Let this post be a rock against all new year’s resolutions.
There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled. — Ovid
“I think I’m digging myself into a hole here,” I said to one of my professors, yawning.
I explained my arithmetic to him.
“Actually,” he said, “After a certain point, the lost hours aren’t strictly additive.”
He shook his head.
“So I’m not actually down by a thousand?”
“Maybe fifty,” he said. “You’ll get it back.”
A new lease on life it was. A mere two days behind? I could make it up by napping.
Perhaps you’re thinking I overstated the case to my son. Napping is not a superpower. A superhero Napman is not.
Behold the poster to the left, for the 2010 National Siesta Championship in Madrid.
Contestants were given points for each minute of sleep. They were further judged on rapidity of sleep onset, snore quality, most original sleep position, and, my favorite, elegance.
Nobody’s perfect and the Spanish got a few things wrong—Franco, the Armada, the Inquisition—no matter. They got the siesta right.
What is it about naps? What do babies know that we don’t?
I thought it was just me who craves an afternoon nap. I can count down to my 2 o’clock “shut down” which lasts until about 3.30pm. I struggle to keep my eyes open and I too find myself trying to nap in the office toilets.
— comment, BBC News Magazine
I can relate.
The Harvard School of Public Health prospectively studied 24,000 men and women between ages 20 and 86. The researchers found the frequent nappers reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by 34%.
There is, apparently, a cost to ignoring the body’s sleep signals.
We’re designed to have two sleeps a day – a big one at night and a small one in the afternoon –Prof. James Horne, Director, Sleep Research Centre, Loughborough University.
The thing about sleep is, you have to make it a priority. When Nick was still napping, I’d lie down with him when I got the chance. When he got older, he told me naps were for babies. He’d wake me when I tried to nap after getting home from work. I took to stopping the car a block from the house and nodding off for 20 minutes.
These days, he lets me sleep.
“You should take a nap with me,” I tell him. “Remember when you were little?”
“You took naps with me.”
“Why not now?”
“You have time. I have no time.” he says.
“But you’re ten.”
“In my mind I’m eleven.”
BECAUSE IT HATH NO BOTTOM
A sudden exposition of sleep has come upon me.
— Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Confession: I am Bottom. I don’t have a choice about napping. A moment strikes when I can’t keep my eyes open. The only course is surrender.
It’s usually in the afternoon, and if it’s quiet and I happen to be home alone, it’s all the more irresistible. It’s like entering the wardrobe in Narnia. There are lovely houses and the English countryside and the clouds shape themselves into billowy animals. It could be any era, really. A time of soft peace.
Years ago, I had a vague memory of being set down in a sort of cradle, something that swayed in the afternoon breeze. I asked my mother about it.
“We had a little hammock on the patio. I used to put you there for naps.” she said. “Every afternoon when it was sunny.”
“How old was I?”
“It was your first six months,” she said.
This is the second part of a two part post. Part 1: Dawn
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
Oh, just say whatever comes into your head. Just Add Father is listening. (Add your thoughts by clicking a few lines below below, where it says comments or add one. I always respond here.)
If you like this post and have a Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, please consider sharing it by clicking one of the buttons below:
sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms arthur rackham