Thursday, April 05, 2007

Take 5... or maybe 30

Taking a nap is such a civilized thing to do. Unfortunately we feel we can justify a break during the day only if we are sick or dead tired.
My good friend Deborah, who is a workaholic, had her gallbladder out two weeks ago and suffered a horrific infection afterwards. She is just now starting to feel better and is marveling that she can sleep for 3 hours each afternoon with no problem. She’s projecting to next week when she’s back to 12-hour days and imagining she will miss that afternoon nap.
I can remember as a young child being coerced into taking a nap only if my mother would lie down with me. Little did I know that she really looked forward to this excuse to take a break in the afternoon. I fought the idea of giving up playtime to sleep, but sleep always came easily.
Spanish-speaking countries have long observed a siesta in the afternoon, when work and school were put on hold for several hours and everyone just had a nice rest. I wonder why the Spanish were so smart and the rest of the world never learned the concept of siesta?
Now that I’m being freed from my mandatory schedule on May 3, I can contemplate taking a nap if I feel like it. I often find that just 20 minutes of downtime can recharge me as not even a double-shot latte can.
A nap doesn’t even need to be in your very own bed. I can foresee taking a long bike ride, finding a nice grassy field, and just dozing outside for a half hour before pedaling back to wherever I came from. A nap outdoors (if it isn’t buggy) is just about as good as it gets.
So as Deborah weans herself from naps, I will be getting ready to start enjoying them whenever and wherever they fit into my unplanned days.
What a delicious luxury to contemplate!


Blogger Golden Silence said...

Spanish-speaking countries have long observed a siesta in the afternoon, when work and school were put on hold for several hours and everyone just had a nice rest. I wonder why the Spanish were so smart and the rest of the world never learned the concept of siesta?

Yeah...why didn't we? I don't think it's just Spain...I think other European countries, such as France, do something similar as well.

How ironic that the things we hate the most as children are the things we miss as adults (i.e., naps).

10:30 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I'm not a napper myself, but I'm all for the 3 hour lunch break that Europeans take for granted. Lunch and a nice walk or bike ride would really set me up for the rest of the day. I could schedule myself this way, but instead I work straight through, just like the rest of us Americans.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I used to nap over lunch in college. (I was more tired than hungry.) I miss it. The midday break. I would love to take a ride, find a field and rest a little. To slow down and enjoy a breeze and the sun on my face.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I went to college (the first time) in New mexico. The whole place shut down right after luch and classes did not resume until two o'clock. I loved siesta time! I still love naps. Mid-summer, mid-day naps are my favorites.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I'm a morning person, AND a night person. My natural down-time is like 1 to 4 in the afternoon. I'm always heading for a nap then when I can (when will that be again?).

7:50 PM  
Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

Congrats on your retirement!!!!! That's so exciting!!!!!!!!

The siesta is only a natural part of life in Southern Spain where it's very hot most of the year. Sevilla and Adalusia in general shut down about 2-5 for siesta. It's so great. Everyone actually goes home, eats a big lunch, and most take a nap. That schedule allows the same shopkeeper to watch the store all day -- no need for 2 shifts.

This schedule would be a problemo in the US bc we all live so damn far from where we work. It works there because they all manage to live within a half hour or so of work. A much saner system if you ask me.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I can see I'm not the only would-be napper! It seems we all understand the need for some mid-day down-time, but our society makes that virtually impossible unless you are self-employed, retired, or a part-time worker. I wonder if any organizations have ever experimented with having a "nap room", where an employee could go for say 30 minutes just to take a short nap? I feel twice as productive and unstressed after a nap. I'll bet I'm not alone in feeling that way.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous David said...

U - this is good info to know. Won't schedule an appt during siesta time.

R - you should think about scheduling in a short nap. When I had my "9 to 5" job, and worked 5 minutes from home, I would come home for lunch and then take a short relaxation break. I'd lie down, turn on my relaxation tape and within 5 minutes was out like a light. When the tape ended (after about 20 minutes), I'd wake up and head back to work, refreshed. Then, I'd work to about 7:00. Great schedule

1:17 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

A great idea! I have one every day but mostly since I've had Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia. Some days it's just 1/2 hr and others it's a few hours. In really hot countries, they have to close up during the heat of mid-day so probably most snooze.

Hope ypu're not too busy in retirement to nap!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Yep, I definitely use the nap excuse on Jason to get some rest for myself.

12:23 PM  

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