There are all kinds of health benefits associated with napping. Probably. I can’t really see doctor’s being down on extra rest considering they’re always prescribing “plenty of rest” like it’s some kind of controlled substance grown only in the Golden Triangle with a smoking hot pharma rep. But even if there aren’t any health benefits, napping is awesome.
James Shirley said Death was the great leveler when he wrote,
“And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.”
But, it’s napping. Napping is the great leveler. No one ever got up from a Death and talked about the experience with others but I’ve heard lots of people brag on a solid nap. And napping is accessible to everyone. There is no napping inequality. Everyone from great kings to lowly paupers and plenty of other Dickensian stereotypes enjoys a great nap. Babies, dogs, police officers. Really, who doesn’t enjoy a good nap? People that cannot be trusted with children or small animals, that’s who.
Where to Nap
Another thing that makes napping amazing is that you can do it just about anywhere except traffic. And you can even do it in traffic if you’re not the poor schmuck behind the wheel. I’ve seen people nap under overpasses, in waiting rooms, at dance recitals and school plays. And if you try telling me that work is not a good place to nap then what you’re really saying is that you’ve never taken a nap at work and gotten away with it. Napping while you are supposed to be working is perhaps the greatest of all naps. Napping while other people are working is a close second. There’s something soothing about knowing that your neighbor is risking heatstroke and potential dismemberment while mowing their yard while you are inside sawing logs and ignoring an old war movie on TV.
What to Wear to Nap
One of the very few rules that actually exist around napping is attire. Appropriate dress can be anything you wouldn’t normally sleep in. Once you put on pajamas you’re going to sleep. Napping is come as you are. Your only real options are socks on or socks off. You can choose to unbutton your pants but once they come off you’re pretty much just going to bed. Spontaneity is the nap’s true essence. Any effort that detracts from that spontaneity is destructive to the napping process. That’s why planned naps never work out. Or, sometimes, it’s because the kids won’t shut up.
When to Nap
Now. Later. Whenever. You can even nap before bedtime. There is not a wrong time to nap and if anyone wakes you up to tell you differently then they are just acting out of envy. I find the best naps happen when I have the most to do. There’s something relaxing about playing chicken with a deadline. It feels like I’ve truly earned that nap when there’s that kind of pressure.
The Sounds of Napping
For whatever reason, most of the world works during the day. Telephone calls. Construction work. Parenting obligations. Unfortunately, that means sounds are going to happen and we’re just going to have to adjust. We can’t ask the world to change for us. It would be unreasonable to ask that. If you’re the kind of person that demands silence from everyone else in order to nod off you’re kind of like a tyrant. I don’t want to go as far as saying Stalin but certainly Prince John from Disney’s Robin Hood. Fortunately, ambient sound invading your subconscious is one of the things that makes a nap different from sleeping. And weird. So, weird. And sometimes disorienting. Embrace it. I find it helpful to play music when I nap. Or the movie Patton.
What does Science say about napping? Who cares? What’s wrong with you? If you’re seriously scouring the internet looking for scientific validation to doze off then the only thing you’ve done is waste valuable napping time. Edison napped. DaVinci napped. Tesla napped. And, yes, Tesla also married a pigeon but that doesn’t mean you have to. These people were geniuses and kind of like scientists and that should be good enough for you.
Napping is amazing. It’s restful, relaxing and a great way to ignore the bullshit of everyday. I can’t encourage napping enough. I’m probably taking one right now.