Naps are definitely one of the things that is saving my sanity (and marriage, if I am honest) during COVID-19 Stay at Home Order. When I feel my mood, productivity, and general mojo slide, I will set the timer and get a little shut eye.
But real talk? Naps are not a new thing for me.
When I was little my ability to sleep anywhere at anytime was a family joke. I regularly fell asleep before we left the block. Once I fell asleep standing up on the front passenger floorboard of the car, hands on the dash (this was before the time of mandatory seatbelts, of course). On a family vacation I slept my way across the Canadian border, unconscious to the border agent looking into our car and everything. When I started driving I did not know how to get anywhere because I was never awake on car trips.
My mom always told me, “You’re going to sleep your life away!” like it was a bad thing. Turns out, Young Susan was onto something. According to the Sleep Foundation, 85% of mammals take naps. Many of these mammals are super stars:
- Winston Churchill
- John F. Kennedy
- Ronald Reagan
- Albert Einstein
- Thomas Edison
- Susan Sanders*
*OK, the Sleep Foundation did not have me on the list, but I am a rock star mammal napper.
The benefits of napping are well documented. I have talked about naps here, and there have been more scientific looks into it as well. Not only does it make me feel less stabby, but NASA says military pilots and astronauts who napped for 40-minute improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
If you like more aggressive benefits, Sleep.org says napping can “zap stress.” There are lots of hormonal explanations of this that we won’t get into here. I just love the idea of a nagging stress ball being lasered away by Mister Sandman while I am burrito’d under the covers.
There are some naysayers among you. These people fall into one of 2 camps.
- FOMOs. Those who are afraid they will miss out on things if they nap. My sister falls into this category. Our mom always lamented the toddler days because Sister was always popping up from naps to find out what everyone else was doing. The weird thing is that she does not seem to be able to nap or need naps. I am not sure what to say about this – doesn’t seem possible.
- Nap Deniers. Those who say it isn’t possible to be refreshed in short amounts of time or sleep that night if you conk out for a couple hours in the afternoon. These people are fearful rookie nappers that should be ignored. Knox McCoy recently dissed naps in his book All Things Reconsidered. Side note – I might be overblowing his comments about naps because this was also the part of the book where he said LeBron was better than Michael Jordan so I was a little salty at the time.
I will let those non-nappers have their moment, because I know napping is a coping mechanism for me. Like all coping mechanisms, sometimes I can abuse it. Napping to avoid cleaning the bathrooms, for example. But when used for good, a wee nap helps make any day more sustainably productive.
As a matter of fact, I think I will go do a little napping research right now! What about you? Are you team nap?