A nod to the nap

August 31, 2016

Summer is THE time to hone one’s skill in the Department of Nap. I have never been prone to this practical and invaluable skill, and I am trying to make some headway into this seemingly unbreachable fortress.

There is no doubt about the restorative properties of the Nap. It can mean the difference between a struggle through the evening and being able to greet it cheerfully. My husband has the capacity to snooze on demand, and while this may come with its own downsides, I wish to be able to call it up when the situation warrants, without fear of incoherence and disorientation upon awakening. Even in college when I would regularly play ping pong until 2 a.m., and then trundle out of bed for an 8 a.m. class, I could not dally in Dozeland during the day.

Lately, I have found that Nap comes looking for me the day after I have been up in the middle of the night for some time. I have tried to infer some correlation between what I have poured down my gullet and any subsequent wakefulness, and have eliminated caffeine, meat and most dairy from my feed. Add in a couple hours biking and swimming and this typically ensures a pleasant forty winks, as long as it is also cool in the bedroom. My primary care physician describes sleep as becoming more fragile as we move through the life cycle. I like this description, as it suits so well. If I have set the stage properly, I generally enjoy my six-seven hours of z’s even with brief forays to pee if I surface. I have also learned not to sweat the times when I’m wakeful from 1-3 a.m., but instead try to enjoy the quiet, and get in some needed reading that I have missed from the day.

I’m not taking this lying down. I realized that this occasional night wakefulness has actually paved the way for my budding expertise in the area of the Nap. Interrupted night’s slumber, plus full workday or workout and voilà! We’re talking droopy, unplugged and battery reset kind of siesta. No lightweight catnap. Nothing to snort (or snore) about.

Philip Roth advises napping to be embraced so completely that one changes to pajamas and snuggles beneath the blankets to more fully take advantage of this delicious passage. I worry that this extreme measure will catapult me into a full on two hour bout of unconsciousness which will then TOTALLY wreck any hope of shut eye at night.

So I’m starting small. During my week on Cape Cod, after a walk through the dunes and a late lunch, I managed not once, not twice, but three times to have a tėte à tėte with the sandman while parked on a sun saturated lawn chair overlooking the ocean. Each time thirty lovely minutes elapsed before I could utter chocolate fro-yo and I found myself only slightly discombobulated and full of energy for voicing my opinion about dinner options. How soon, what to make, what kind of music to accompany.

Ah, Nap. You’re within my grasp. Soon it will not be just during movies that you ask me to visit. Soon it will be my choice to ask for your elixir, your rejuvenating brain massage. If logs really do sleep well, I’m all for emulating them. Rest easy, Nap. I’m coming for you.

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