November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Casual Observer/Mark Levy

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Nap Time

by Mark Levy

 

At the risk of putting you to sleep faster than my essays usually do, I’m going to discuss naps, those precious intervals of sleep during the day favored by the very young and, I’ve discovered, many older people including me. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center survey shows that one out of three adults takes a daily nap. More men do than women.

The Internet is full of advice about the advantages of napping during the work day and how to get the most out of your napping time at the office. Someone even invented an unofficial holiday called National Workplace Napping Day, to be celebrated the first Monday after the start of daylight-saving time each spring. The theory is you need a nap on that day more than any other day of the year to make up for the hour of sleep you missed the previous Sunday morning.

I would use that logic to argue for a nap the day after New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Fourth of July, Academy Awards night, Superbowl Day, World Series Day (all seven of them), and even Flag Day for the excessively patriotic.

Of course, not all of us work in offices. Aren’t hospital workers, professional basketball players, and retail sales clerks entitled to a nap, too? If you operated a jack hammer, for instance, I think you should be able to take a short nap every day, which would be a relief not only for you, but for the rest of us within earshot.

Taking a nap during the workday has a number of advantages, the most important one being an opportunity to be more productive afterwards. But if you wake from a nap feeling groggy and grumpy, as I usually do, you might feel productive even if all you do is stumble your way to the bathroom.

Here’s another advantage of taking a nap when you should be working: you can make up for nap time by working late, thereby avoiding the evening rush hour, which is its own reward.

Frankly, though, as much as I appreciate workday naps, I find great pleasure also in napping during the weekend. For most of us, the weekend is for recuperating after a long week of whatever it is we get paid to do. Sometimes I’m so exhausted on Saturday morning, the first thing I do upon awakening is take a nap. That way, instead of merely sleeping in all morning I feel that I’m actually accomplishing something I can brag about on the rare occasion that I’m invited to a party that night.

Napping has been good for my marriage, too. My wife is always concerned about my well being, which is why she pesters me about any number of what used to be pleasurable activities. Lethargy in front of our TV and fried chicken come to mind. Her concern for me has certainly curtailed my unhealthy behavior. But by the same token, her abnormally strong desire to keep me healthy at least until our mortgage is paid off has actually resulted in my getting out of most physical tasks from drying dishes to mowing the lawn to attending those interminable grade school music recitals. All I have to do, after beginning the activity, is clutch my heart and make a funny face and I’m excused from completing the job.

I have to admit, though, I haven’t been successful at ducking all of those so-called concerts. I know what you’re thinking, but the kids’ performances are so dreadful, no one could sleep through them.

I’m in good company as a professional napper. Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison advocated naps. So did Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, and Salvador Dali. And look what they accomplished.

Business people call them “power naps,” which elevates them to something more meaningful than what cats and dogs do at every opportunity. In fact, before the expression, “power naps” became popular, we used to call them “cat naps.”

The Mayo Clinic also thinks they’re a good idea for some people’s hearts some of the time. How’s that for a strong recommendation? Personally, I think that indicates the Mayo Clinic employs too many lawyers.

John Kennedy also used to take naps, or at least that’s what he told Jackie. I really have to hand it to Kennedy. If Marilyn Monroe had visited me at nap time, I’m not sure what activity I would have chosen.

 

About the author:

Mark Levy is Ragazine.CC’s “Casual Observer.”   He is a lawyer, lives in Florida, and is an occasional contributor to National Public Radio where his columns can be heard some Saturdays around noon. You can read more about him in “About Us.” 

Illustration by Walter Gurbo. You can read more about Walter in About Us.

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