Notes on Napping

Yesterday I took a nap.

OK that’s a lie. Yesterday I took two naps. One shortly after breakfast and one in the afternoon. Altogether I probably napped close to an hour, maybe more. I wasn’t timing myself or limiting the nap time by setting an alarm. I just arranged the pillows on the sofa, covered myself with the throw, let out an audible sigh, and closed my eyes. Each time when I woke up, I felt better.

It could be the stress of current events has made me more in need of naps these days, but I’ve always been a believer. Science and psychologists agree: Naps are good for us. They help us relax, reduce fatigue, increase alertness, improve our moods and, this I really like: naps improve performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory.

Rumi Nap

Rumi at Rest

Studies have also shown that naps increase creativity. Sometimes taking a little cat nap—those short ten to fifteen minutes of shut-eye—will spark the solution to some knot that’s tied up a project or offer an answer to a question you’ve been pondering. Ever wake up with an “ah ha!” and know that next scene you’re supposed to write, or how to get your character out of a jam? I have. Sometimes I even say the particular challenge out loud before I close my eyes, like offering a little prayer or request to the sleep fairy. Author Max Apple said, “If I’m stuck in the midst of a story, I take a nap. It often works, and if it doesn’t, I still feel better.”

Cats do it. Dogs do it. Even very famous writers do it.

           Let me tell you about the nap. It’s absolutely fantastic. -Philip Roth

           I nap on a daily basis like a cross-country trucker. -Mary Carr

How about you? Are you a nap-taker?

14 thoughts on “Notes on Napping

  1. I don’t get to take a nap everyday but when I do I always feel better. Thanks for the reminder that it’s a good thing to do. I think I’ll go take a nap right now!

    • Thanks Jill for writing. I’m not a daily napper either, but some days just aren’t complete without a quick little snooze. I especially love to find a comfy place in the sun and let it warm me to sleep. I’m like an old cat that way. Did you enjoy your nap?

  2. Absolutely a believer and a regular practitioner! But I love being reminded of a nap’s effect on creativity.

    • Thanks for your comment, Laura. I somehow knew you’d be a regular nap-ster. You wear it well. But then you wear everything well.

    • Thanks for your note, Barb. Instead of setting an alarm to wake up, maybe you could set one to remind you to take a nap. (ha ha).

  3. Dear Judy,
    Thank you for this post…I never nap, but I do relax and settle in on a comfortable couch. I either read or gaze out the window….

    • Thanks for commenting, Arlene. Sometimes that “almost napping” is just as refreshing and renewing as actually falling asleep. I love gazing out windows and daydreaming, too. There’s a particular black kitty that snoozes atop the fence right out my kitchen window. I feel so relaxed, just watching him.

  4. I come from a long line of nappers, my Great Grandparents were nappers my Grandparents were nappers and my parents are nappers, therefore it is inevitable I carry on the tradition, plus in the South it is almost a requirement. Annie

    • Thanks for giving us your napping lineage, Annie. My folks weren’t such good nappers, but then we’re not from the South. Maybe that got left behind when we settled in the midwest.

  5. Not much winter choice in this Canadian household although our edge of desert area doesn’t get cold like the rest. Maybe a couple of weeks at the most all told. The couch syndrome sets in worse in this season than the rest because the ugly sets in, a vista brown, white, grey, and black that precludes any walking. Who wants to racewalk in that?

    So we sit couch with a book which is a laugh because the minute the back touches the back of the couch, the body says oh this is bed, let’s go sleepy sleepy toosey toosey now.

    And then because we don’t walk we don’t sleep at night so we have to take even more naps.

    I hear there is a cold snap coming….

    • Ha ha, Linda. Have you tried racewalking in place? I wish bright blooms and new leaves for you. Hang on. We’re almost to February.

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