Love it or hate it: Naps

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Love itThere’s nothing better than sleeping when you’re not supposed to be sleeping. Most of us relish the prospect of a good bout of procrastination – but actually becoming unconscious when you’re meant to be doing work or chores is the ultimate form of stalling. In a comatose state, you can’t feel guilty about neglecting duties. (Unless you’re having stress dreams.)

It can be hard to fall asleep at night. It’s hard to do ANYTHING exactly when and how you know you should, because bodies are defiant. Your brain won’t turn off, you can’t stop thinking about everything you’ve ever done wrong in your life. All the embarrassing moments. The failed relationships. The dead pets. You can’t get comfortable; you’re too hot, too cold, too itchy. But a nap is sweet release. You’re probably so tired, you cannot stop yourself.

There are downsides to naps, of course. You waste a lot of time. You might sleep for five lovely hours, then remain maddeningly alert all night. It’s not a practical schedule, as society functions mostly in the daytime. You can’t really get errands done when everyone else is sleeping. Plus, it’s common to awaken from naps disoriented, wondering what day it is. It’s dark – is it still today, or tomorrow? How long have I been asleep? WHAT YEAR IS IT?

So, napping is a dangerous game. But it feels so good.

Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldHate itI’m a fan of continuity and momentum. Sometimes I hate having to go to bed at night, wishing the next day would just come. I’d be rested without all the hullaballoo of slowing my mind down, squelching all the restlessness and anxiety, and then once I’m happy where I am, comfortable inside the deep, gurgling, satiny sleep of children, the alarm goes off and I have to immediately start shoveling loads of coal to get that steam engine chugging again.

Naps are the same, but on a smaller scale, interrupting the day’s momentum, demanding the herky-jerky starting and stopping, like a kid learning how to drive stick. More specifically, naps can interrupt a particular activity, like reading. Nothing is more frustrating than finally finding time with a book, only to get thwarted by a pushy, me-first nap, which is often a result and reminder of poor decision-making on my part (late-night carousing on school nights, mainly).

And then there are the naps that don’t “take,” where the finicky sleep lasts too long or not long enough and you wake up more tired than before. Or you wake up with the wherewithal and mental faculties of an orthopedic pillow, the haziness and its duration at the whim of the nap that put you there.

David Holub


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