Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Praise of Naps

Depending upon how you consider it, I have either a blessing or a curse.

Low blood pressure.

It’s something that I think I’ve always had.

The first time I became aware of it, I was having a company physical at Shell Oil in Houston. I was all of 22. The doctor pumped up the pressure gauge, and then a look of surprise appeared on his face. He looked at the reading, looked at me, then looked at the reading again. He shook his head.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

He shook his head. “According to your blood pressure reading, you should be asleep.”

It explains a lot of things.

For example, my uncanny ability to nod off during church sermons, as long as my wife is with me. By myself, I stay awake (so it’s obviously her fault). So, I take notes during sermons. Lots of notes.

Then there’s the serious medical condition I call post-lunch slump. After lunch, it is very difficult for me to stay awake, usually for about 45 minutes after eating. Unless I can move about. Meetings after lunch are the worst, and my company likes having lots of meetings, and lots of them after lunch.

I should live in a Spanish-speaking country; they understand post-lunch slump, and the cure for it has a very pretty name.


Or, as we say in English, the nap. The glorious nap.

I love taking naps. Light naps. Deep naps. Short naps and long naps. Naps of all kinds.

When our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was still alive, he was my nap partner. In the wintertime, he was the ideal nap partner – a kind of hot-water bottle somewhere in the vicinity of my legs. He had an internal clock that went off at after almost exactly an hour. He’d awaken and then start bugging me to put him on the floor. Sometimes he’d settle down and take another nap. Sometimes he’d start to bark.

As it is, I can usually only manage a good nap (or two) on weekends. If I do a bike ride, I have to kiss the nap goodbye. And while I could probably figure out a way to manage both a nap and a bike ride, there’s this other person living in my house that often has other ideas on how to spend a weekend afternoon. The one who makes me fall asleep in church.

She tells me I should get more sleep at night. She’s right, of course. I should. But it’s become increasingly difficult to sleep past 5 a.m. After that, I’m wide awake.

I have a solution to the problem.

Naps should be required by law.

To see more posts on rest, please visit Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista, who has a “Restoring Soul Rest" carnival going on during March.

Photograph: Afternoon Siesta by Peter Griffin via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

I get up early Glynn (3:45 or thereabouts) so i do get sleepy during the day. I will sometimes grab a 5-10 minute power nap and be great. I think naps are a gift from God. :) They certainly are a way to stop you from dozing off during prayer meeting on a Wednesday night (which I did two weeks ago). LOL And yeah, someone noticed and called me on the carpet this week. Take that nap!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael said...

Sunday afternoons are a prime time for naps at the Perkins House.

Melissa said...

Yes, naps should be required by law!

My son outgrew the need for naps when he turned three. No long after that, my need for naps started to increase. Hmmmm. I do think we need that time to refresh.

JofIndia said...

Low blood pressure is associated with longevity - even though it seems you may be asleep for much of it...

Louise Gallagher said...

There are companies Glynn who have nap rooms. Forward thinking organizations who recognize people work better when provided the opportunity to nap during the day.

I love naps!

Long live the nap!

Jerry said...

Finally someone who dares come out of the closet to lay down on the sofa.

Debbie Petras said...

I love the times when I can take a nap! However, they don't come all too frequently. But I say, if you can do it ...take a nap.

Anonymous said...

I really like the way you think. While my blood pressure isn't alarmingly low it has always been on the lower end of normal which between that and mitrovalve prolapse causes low energy for me. Yes, naps should be required.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel old. I don't feel anything till noon. That's when it's time for my nap.

Bob Hope

Lisa notes... said...

If you get the bill passed for mandatory naps, make sure I know about it. :-) While I am NOT a good napper (or sleep in general), I love the thought of it.

Maureen said...

It's been said that short naps throughout the day spark creativity, so how could anyone deny the value of naps? I just wish I could take one.

Anonymous said...

I am so in agreement with you. LOL

Billy Coffey said...

Amen, Glynn. The siesta has to be one of man's crowning achievements.

Linda said...

I think I could support such a law Glynn. However, it would have to be around 3 o'clock. If I'm not up and moving around at that time of day, I can barely keep my eyes open!
I'm still smiling about it being your wife's fault. What fun!

Sandra Heska King said...

The only way I can nap is to put my head down on my desk. If I actually lie down, I'm out for a long time. And then I feel terrible.

Anonymous said...

Great idea (making it required)!

Now I'm wondering if I have low blood pressure. I've always blamed my narcoleptic symptoms on growing up without an enforced bedtime (or enforced naps)!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Naps are such a I need to appreciate more often.

Sheryl said...

I love your solution! I used to live in Africa---we had "noon rest"---the same idea as siesta. One of the best ideas. Ever.

Katie said...

I love the idea of a nap. GRAND idea!!!

Duane Scott said...

This is my favoritest post you've written.


So much character.

And guess what, I have ironically low BP too.

Anonymous said...

That is some legislation I could definitely get behind! :) Thanks Glynn--loved this post.

H. Gillham said...

Oh, I love naps. They are awesome.

Little irony here -- now that I am retired, I can take a nap anytime I want to -- I don't need to.
When I worked, I always needed one -- like you -- after lunch, never could take one -- always students in the classroom.

The Glorious Nap!

Deidra said...

A nap for me is a major production. First, everything has to be done and everyone's needs tended to. Then, I need to know for sure that nothing important will happen while I am napping. Too high-strung. I know. Something a nap would surely cure, I'm sure.

a joyful noise said...

Enjoyed your post very much!
The Doctors are always amazed at my LOW blood pressure. So that must be the reason, why I love to sleep late? Anyway, naps are not my usual habit, although to take a rest and meditate (think on the Lord) is a good substitute for a nap.

Bonnie Gray said...

Hey, Glynn! Maybe that's what I have.. low blood pressure!...

Wait a minute... nope, my dr. says my blood pressure's just fine.

Too bad.

I thought I had a legitimate excuse for loving to nap and feeling very swoony after lunch everyday.

I love how you can make me laugh in reading in front of my screen.

Now, I think I'll go lie down. Just for a minute.