The Elusive Joys of Napping

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I have been obsessed with napping lately. Unfortunately, not taking naps myself, but admiring those who do. My friend, Alice, takes a nap every day — every day. Just 20 minutes, but I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Yes, the 20 minutes of sleep is one thing to envy, but the whole ritual of self-care surrounding it is, too. Being a daily napper means keeping yourself and your needs front and center (or at least somewhere in view). Not in a hedonistic sort of way, but in a healthy way. While I’m running around helter skelter trying to check things off the list, Alice is making sure that she is near her bed around 2 o’clock every day. Whether her schedule is manageable or crazy, she manages to sneak one in — I know of only one day she’s missed.

I also love what this shows to our families — that we’ll slow down long enough to take care of ourselves, and that they can fend for themselves for a little while. What a great message that we are going to take care of ourselves and that they are completely capable of getting on without us.

To me, those are benefits enough. But for more concrete benefits, webmd.com says, “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping…You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost…The length of your nap — and the type of sleep you get — helps determine the brain-boosting benefits. The 20-minute power nap — sometimes called the stage 2 nap — is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano…What happens if you nap for more than 20 minutes? Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep — napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes — is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions.”

PsychologyToday.com says, “A nap can be the quickest way to reboot your tired brain in the afternoon, charge yourself up for the rest of the day, and help you refresh yourself down to the cellular level.”

Could today be the day?

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