Sunday, November 23, 2008

On Napping

I've napped both days this weekend. I am not a particularly good napper. I wake feeling heavy and nauseated, and somewhat guilty. When I was a child, I loved naps. I came home from school many days, wrapped up in an afghan, and napped. In high school I fell into a heavy, drooling sleep each afternoon during swim season especially, waking slowly to the sounds of supper preparation. My mother was so sweet. I don't ever remember her waking me to set the table or pour drinks on those afternoons. She was in tune with my level of physical and mental exhaustion and knew, because she was a well-read but intuitive parent, that I needed rest.

In college I would nap for hours on the weekends, naps full of layers and layers of dreams. Have you ever had those dreams in which you dream you are waking up, and then in your dream you realize that you are dreaming, and you try to climb out of the pit of dreams to finally resurface, only to find that you are still dreaming? It's quite dreadful. Those were hard, exhausting days, mentally and emotionally. Also, I stayed up way too late most of the time, except during my senior year when I was doing my student teaching. I was actually responsible then.

When my children were small, I napped more frequently, often ostensibly to get them to nap. Now I find that my actual need for naps is nearly gone. My days are less stressful, physically and emotionally, than perhaps they ever have been. I've learned balance, and the vast majority of the time I get a full night's sleep.

My children are not nappers, and I wonder how much that has to do with the relative relaxation of their lives. They don't have to awaken early in the morning, and they don't have the emotional exhaustion that comes from being around people all day. Even my teenager, who by definition as a teenager should be napping and lazing about, never does. The Napping House, we are not.

But sometimes I crave the decadence of just reading in the middle of a cold afternoon, and unfortunately, reading while prone always leads to sleep for me. And now I feel vaguely disconnected from the day, trying to remember what I was doing, fitting back into the groove of a Sunday afternoon.

What about you? Are you a napper, or do naps leave you feeling disconcerted?


  1. No nappers here. The kids, all between ages 4 and 9, are not nappers anymore, but I wish they were. For myself, on the occasion I feel a deep need to nap, I usually have a cup of coffee instead. It's not that the nap wouldn't be welcome, it's the four kids that would be running wild while I napped.

  2. We are not usually nappers around here. Boys all gave them up before age 2....I only nap when pregnant and can't seem to keep my eyes open...and it does leave me feeling disconnected...

  3. I'll be the exception :). We do nap here. Only recently have we started to wean my 4 & 7 y.o. of naps so we can get to sleep at a somewhat decent hour. :)

  4. no naps for kids here, unless we're in the car around 1 or 2 then my 3 year old falls asleep. it's SO nice when that happens. i seem to only nap when i'm sick or when we're camping. i've taken to getting in bed really early! like 9ish. i let myself stay up on the weekends, but during the week i am in my bed before my 14 year old!

  5. I love your writing! I enjoyed reading what you had to say on this topic!

    I find naps to be a wonderful treat that I partake in once in a while. I usually wake feeling rested, calm and refreshed. I'm usually able to stay up a bit late and watch a movie with my husband on those days.

    I must admit that I occasionally wake feeling a bit disoriented and guilty (guilty depending on what's going on in our home and family).

    Overall, I think they can be wonderful and good for me.

  6. I am not a napper or a dreamer. I hardly ever take naps and I hate the fact that I rarely dream. I am so envious of people who have vivid, interesting, sometimes even meaningful dreams....

    Today would be a great nap's kind of cold, windy and grey...maybe I'll try to convince Lily to lay on the couch with me for a few minutes. ~Deb C

  7. I think short afternoon naps are very good. Probably never longer than 20 minutes. I have NOT been napping lately and I think it shows. Especially on the weekends they can be good. I think the idea of a power nap is a good one. I used to do it a lot more at work but haven't for the last few years.

    My eldest daughter was having trouble going to sleep at night and we were really frustrated. A wise minister told me to skip her naps and wear her out physically letting her get worked.

    But generally, I think naps if short enough can greatly enhance a person's life. Just not too long!

  8. My mother is and always has been a napper. I napped when I was pregnant. Lately I will sometimes nap on a Sunday afternoon, but never more than 30 minutes. Any longer then that and my limbs feel leaden and my body and brain feel awful. Also, I make certain I nap where I can hear noise and be disturbed by it - if I go into deep sleep, then I get that nasty tiredness. Otherwise, I find that a short nap refreshes me.

  9. My Dad is the King of naps! I only nap when I am sick, which is not often. I am 54 and have quite enough trouble staying asleep at night now, so I dare not nap!


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