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.