As the adage goes, "write what you know." I shall obey, because I know a lot about napping. Not academic knowledge -- first-hand, eyes-shut, direct experience.
In fact, I just had a nap.
That refreshment, combined with a cup of coffee, has stimulated me to share some of the napping wisdom that I've gained over many years.
For I am not new to napping. In 1977, a few years out of graduate school, I began my second "real" job with the State Health Planning agency here in Salem, Oregon.
I had a private office, being a manager. One of my first executive decisions was to bring in an old couch from home. Often during the noon hour, I'd nap.
More than thirty years later, I still am.
Now that I'm retired, I've been able to put more time (but not effort -- see below) into honing my napping skills. I am ready to reveal to a hopefully yawning world my Ten Commandments of Napping.
Though I am not a religious person, obviously, I have chosen to name my tips as I have because I consider napping to be a secularly sacred experience. It is a highpoint of my day, enabling me to tap into a divine wellspring of bliss:
Here are my revelations. There is no need to bow down before them. But if instead you're drawn to lay your head on a pillow and shut your eyes, feel free.
The Ten Commandments of Napping
(1) If you are sleepy, sleep. Just not while driving. Since you have snacks between meals, don't deprive yourself of naps between bedtimes.
(2) Lose the guilt. A nap shouldn't be viewed as a forbidden pleasure. It is your right. Should a cat enjoy more freedom than you do?
(3) Ditch the alarm clock. A nap, like sex, shouldn't be timed. Quickies and longies are each pleasurable. Flow with your sleep wisdom unless there is an overwhelming reason to artificially conclude a nap.
(4) Don't over-analyze. As noted in my "The Tao of napping," researchers have found proven health benefits to taking a nap. But a nap doesn't need justifying. It is what it is.
(5) Come out as a napper. If your spouse asks, "What should I tell X if he/she calls while you're napping?" there's only one honest reply: "Tell them I'm taking a nap." Stand tall as a napper (except when you're lying down).
(6) Whatever happens is good. Sleeping. Resting. Contemplating. Blank minding. It's all good at nap time. Shut your eyes. Relax. Let go. Then...whatever. No expectations.
(7) Feed yourself. If a cookie and blanket is good enough for a pre-schooler's nap time, it's good enough for anyone's. Have a pre-nap snack. Napping and a full stomach go together like, well, napping and a full stomach.
(8) Embrace other cultures. The siesta is an honored tradition in Spain and many Latin American nations. Wikipedia says napping also is common in China, Japan, and other countries. The U.S. needs to catch up.
(9) Make it last. An "afternoon delight" should be savored fully. Don't jump up at the end of a nap. Languish. Relish the sleepified moment before moving on to waking life.
(10) Follow your own rules. You are the captain of your own napping boat. You march to the beat of your own yawning drummer. Ignore any or all of these commandments. Simply nap on. And then? Nap on.