Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Card carrying napper extraordinaire

I am one of them, the lucky 40% of the population, according to an article in Time Magazine.  I am, I proudly proclaim, a napper.
My husband is not.  He thinks I’m crazy because every time he tries to take a nap, he wakes up groggy and worse than when he closed his eyes to begin with.  I never fail to impress him with my napping prowess. 
My kids think I’m hilarious.  They do impressive impressions of me:
“I’m going to go ‘read my book,’ says mom.” 
“Watch some TV.  Wake me up when the show is over,” they quip, mocking me as I sprawl out on the floor with a blanket and my own arm as a pillow.  Most people couldn’t lie comfortably like that, but I can do it and sleep at the same time.  For 15 minutes.  And wake up feeling wonderful.
It started in college, when I coined the term “twelve-minute nap” because I determined through years of trial and error, that that was the minimum amount of time I needed to recharge my batteries and move forward with my day, full speed.  And to this day, it’s really all I need.
I have taken a twelve-minute nap in many places.  I have fallen asleep under the cover of a book in plenty of doctor’s offices.  I’ve also snoozed in the pick-up line at school and just last week I found myself giving in while sitting at my daughter’s piano lesson in my car, while people passed right by me, walking their dogs.  I’m surprised no one knocked on the window to make sure I was still alive.
For me, this napping thing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. According to the article, those of us who have come to require daytime snoozes have a higher chance of poor performance if we don’t nap.  We make things worse by reaching for caffeinated and energy drinks to compensate for the lack of sleep, which doesn’t really help us at all.  I should know—before I took that nap at piano lessons, I drank three cups of coffee. 
Dr. Mednick, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside recently published a book with a title that makes my eyelids droop just thinking about it.  “Take a Nap!  Change Your Life!” is a book that, according to the article, tells me that it’s really okay for me to give into my weariness.  She states that short naps can lower stress (who has any of that?) and recharge willpower, not to mention have other health benefits for those of us who luckily are natural born nappers.  We are the ones who now have scientific research backing us up when we fall asleep at our desk, on the floor, or in our cars and assure us that we’re not crazy, we’re just tired.
When we wake up, we can tell you all about it.

Originally written/published 10/12/14



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