5 Reasons Why Taking A Nap As An Adult Is Both A Reward And A Struggle
Remember back when we were little kids, and the phrase, “it’s time to take a nap” was one of the most awful, dreadful combination of words uttered by our parents?
It usually came on a weekend, around 2 pm or so, sometimes right after lunch. It’s not like we had politely asked for quiet time or requested a proper afternoon rest be penciled into our busy agendas of coloring, play dates and driving Mom crazy in Costco.
Hearing these words was like being told to take a “time out,” which was basically the most horrendous punishment ever.
Our response? Generous episodes of screaming, wailing and, sometimes, violent upheavals of tears.
Fast forward some 15 to 20-plus years later, and my, have things changed. Much like a fine wine, stinky cheese and, yes, dare I say, even some green vegetables, our taste for naps has also evolved favorably.
As grownups, “nap time” sounds less like the clinking of shackles and chains, and more like sweet, soft and melodic music to our ears.
Having 20 or 30 minutes to make uninterrupted contact with a favorite pillow sounds like one hell of a good time.
As an adult, if you have been able to slice off a little piece of prime nap time during your day, you have also probably experienced some of this:
This is when you sleep so hard that an impression of the crochet blanket you fell asleep on is now displayed on the side of your cheek.
And you only realize it after you have spent about 20 minutes zombie-walking through your routine Target errands, and see the pattern on your face as you pass by the fitting room mirror.
The Finger-Eye Prod
Because your eyelids are in a permanent droop-phase, you find yourself relying on the strength of your fingertips to keep your eyes open.
The problem is, other people are starting stare, clearly confused as to whether or not your crying, itching, contemplating or meditating. They can’t quite figure out what you're doing, and your fingers are starting to hurt from the heavy lifting.
It's not a spot, not a couple of drops.
The warm wetness surrounding the side of your lips looks more like a river that has overflown from your mouth and is slowing flowing down the side of your bed.
It’s 10 am, and you’re already yawning.
At first, it starts at a steady pace of one yawn per hour, but by noon, it’s happening about every 10 minutes. Now your jaw is starting to hurt.
There is definitely a reason why most marathoners stretch before a race.
Contemplation of one, some or all of the following:
1. After setting an alarm for a mid-afternoon power nap: “What time is it? 6 pm? Sh*t! I was only going to lay down for half an hour...”
2. “Where the hell am I?” “How the hell did I get here?” (You are clearly dazed and confused from a hardcore snore sesh.)
3. "I have no idea whether it is morning or night…"
4. "I’m hungry!"
5. As your dog jumps on you unexpectedly: "WHAT THE F*CK??!!"
6. "Where is my underwear?" (Seriously…)
Generally, the best length of time for quick power nap is about 20 minutes, but if you have space in your day to dedicate to a complete REM cycle, 90 minutes should do the trick.
And although it would be extremely convenient if we had a nationally-accepted time window dedicated to leisure and relaxation, the fact of the matter is, most of us run on different clocks throughout the day.
Fortunately, The Boston Globe has created a napping roadmap to help all of us plan a little siesta time that fits into our own personal schedules.
Regardless of whether you are pro nap or no nap, if you feel exhausted and find yourself looking like one of those emoji with one eye open and the other in a full on droopy mode, just surrender to the snooze.
Embrace it and enjoy it, for as long as you can, that is. The drool and slight chance of confusion is totally worth it.