Nap Time Should be a Law

There are things I fought hard against when I was younger that I wish I could do now. Nap time is number one on my list. When I was a toddler, I hated having to take a nap. I was afraid I was going to miss something fun. I fussed and whined and pleaded, but I was still put down for a nap. I’d lie there, pretending to be asleep for a few minutes, then act as if I had just woken up, refreshed and ready to go. My mother never bought it, however, and soon “Robbie, lay your ass back down before I make you cry yourself to sleep!” echoed throughout the house. Now, however, I would take that nap in a blink of an eye.

In some of the warmer climates, naps are taken after the midday meal. Businesses close and shop owners go home for a long lunch and to kick off their shoes for a bit. And they’re smart to do it. Research shows that an afternoon nap helps reduce stress, improves our cognitive skills and causes us to be more alert. We’re not only more efficient, but we gain better health when we catch an hour snooze.

I don’t know about you, but around two o’clock every day my motivation and output cuts in half. Okay, more like it cuts down to a quarter of what it was when I began my day. I’m sluggish, irritable, and have a hard time focusing. It doesn’t matter how active I was prior to that. At two o’clock, I slip into low gear and slow motion. Anything I produce is pretty much worthless, and scrapped the next day.

If I can lay down for forty-five minutes to an hour, however, I feel reenergized. My patience is better, my thinking clearer, and my creativity sharper. Of course, the girls say I’m not as grumpy, either. I’ll buy it. I’m refreshed and ready to go another eight hours.

I read where in some countries, siestas are not necessarily due to climate, but rather more about culture. It’s a culture I can agree with. I won’t even argue about being made to take one. I promise.

You would think Big Business would take naps into consideration when putting their employees’ work days together. I mean, the research proves that people are more productive after a nap. Instead, however, Big Business tries to squeeze ten, twelve, or fourteen hour days out of their employees. They don’t even realize that they’re not getting their money’s worth for each paid hour. What they should be doing is clearing out a few rooms of desks and computers and installing cots or bunk beds. Their employees can eat their peanut butter and jelly, drink their milk and then zonk out for a quick nap. Once they wake up, their potential will soar and employers will benefit.

When we’re young, however, we believe we’re invincible. After watching my boys grow up, I agree with the energy levels seeming nonstop. Yet, naps improve moods, if not theirs than at least mine.

“But Dad,” they would whine, “we’re not tired. Why do we need a nap?”

“Because, I need a break.” Together, quite often we would climb into bed and take a nap. Or rather, I would take a nap. They would wait until they heard me snore, then sneak out to watch television. Like me at their age, they didn’t understand how sweet a nap can be. The 8-year old is that way now, as well. She can be dead on her feet and still refuses to lay down for a brief respite.

They’ll learn though. One day it just hits. You don’t just want a nap. You need it. However, it’s too late. You’re locked into a 9 to 5 with no way out until you retire at sixty-seven.

Not me. I’m going to take them now, before it’s too late. I even try to schedule it in during my work day. As a matter of fact, I’m late for mine, now. If I don’t take my nap, I don’t get cookies and milk, so I’ll see you in an hour.

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