It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and I’m sitting at my computer, trying to order my scattered thoughts into a coherent blog post. I’ve been up since before six; we have plans for this evening. Bedtime is hours away. What I really want is a nap.
I’ve never been one for napping much. The problem wasn’t one of falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon. That was easy. The difficulty was waking up again. My college roommates used to go lie down for 15 minutes and come back refreshed and functional. When I tried to copy them, I’d be out for hours and groggy for the rest of the day. I wouldn’t really wake up fully until the following morning. That was not at all helpful for completing term papers or studying for exams.
When our first daughter was born, all the experienced moms advised me to “nap while the baby naps.” I’m sure that’s great advice. We weren’t getting much sleep at night, and I desperately needed more. The only window of opportunity was when the kid was sleeping too. But that was also my only chance to take a shower, pay the bills, clean the house, do the laundry, cook a meal, have a life…. Naps never made it to the top of the priority list.
Since then I’ve gotten serious about photography. The best photographs are usually made at dawn or dusk. Coincidentally, that is also when birds are the most active, and I love to look at birds. As a result, my alarm seems to be permanently set to “o’dark thirty.” I’d happily go to bed by nine, but dinner guests, evening programs, our church small group, and other events often make that difficult. Instead, I need to learn to nap properly. And yes, there is a right and wrong way to take a nap.
It turns out that quite a bit of research has been done on this topic, and the internet is full of helpful information. An article published by the Boston Globe provides the best summary I could find. Here’s the link. You go ahead and check it out. I’m going to go take that nap!