I love taking naps. Don’t misunderstand me, I also enjoy nighttime sleeping, but I love naps. Short power naps – the recommended 20-minute kind – are very helpful as a battery recharge. But a real nap, for me, means no time limit: a natural wakeup when the body is ready. That is absolute perfection, in my book.
Very few of us can enjoy that sort of ‘luxury’ when we arise in the morning, because there are morning tasks to be completed in a timely fashion. Maybe you need to make breakfast and pack up lunches and drive children to school. Perhaps it is just a matter of getting yourself washed and dressed and out the door to work or school. Perhaps the dog wakes you up, insisting on a walk or the cats want their food or the baby needs to be fed or changed. Whether the stimulus is our alarm clock or the sounds of a fellow creature, we roll out of bed and get moving.
A nap, on the other hand, can be planned (occasionally) at a time when there is no incipient pressure to be active, to meet a need or a deadline. A quiet place, a soft surface on which to recline, a cozy blanket and open-ended time are the prime ingredients. I personally enjoy using an eyebag because the gentle weight of it reminds my eyes that they are completely at rest. And somehow that seems to quiet my mind as well. My muscles relax and I sink into my body, which doesn’t make sense as words, but that’s how it feels to me.
I am not one of those people who can fall asleep anywhere: in/on planes, trains and automobiles. Sometimes I wish that I were, but then again, I really enjoy watching people and scenery, so that’s okay. There have been occasions, particularly on a long flight, where I do nod off for a bit, but the resulting neck pain is terrible.
For me, napping is a private thing. I want to be somewhere secluded and safe, where I will not be observed. It is beginning to sound like I have a lot of requirements for napping, but remember that I am talking ideal circumstances here. Most of my naps are ended by a ringing telephone or the adorable little chime on my smart phone alarm.
Origin of NAP: Middle English nappen, from Old English hnappian; akin to Old High German hnaffezen (to doze), or Middle High German napfen; First Known Use: before 12th century
Nothing exciting about the origin of the word, except that it appears to have been in use for a long time. Of course some cultures, particularly in warmer climates, have a traditional ‘siesta’ after the midday meal. I’ve always thought that was a sensible and humane routine. I am not convinced that being ‘on’ nonstop is really any good for us as humans or for the cultures we develop using that lifestyle.
Well, if you will excuse me, I need to do some more research; its time for my nap.