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Nap Time For Grown-ups

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I love naps. I can think of nothing more decadent and more re-charging that catching a snooze in the middle of the day. On the weekends our entire schedule is built around the whole house taking at least a one hour nap each day. It’s serious business around here.

And, at the request of @WarrenWhitlock, I am going to share with you a) why I believe naps are critical and b) some of my best tips for getting the most from your nap time.

So first, why do I thinks naps are so crucial?

1) We live in a rush-rush-rush, over-stimulating, sleep-deprived world. In fact we kind of glorify how fast we can do something and how little sleep we did it on. This is physically and emotionally unsustainable. Your body will rebel. You will get sick. You will run out of steam. You will b e an emotional mess. It’s just a matter of time.

2) We MUST give ourselves the gift of re-charging. Even if we love what we do, we can’t push ourselves on a indefinite adrenline-fed frenzy. Our brains, that organ we depend on to produce our brilliant work, simply cannot fire on all cylinders without rest. It’s like asking your body to run a marathon while eating one meal a day.

3) Our brains and our subconscious produce fascinating ideas and connections when they are at rest but not in full REM sleep. (REM sleep produces great stuff too – it’s just a different kind of great stuff.)

There are tons of really good reasons for taking a nap. And the media has caught on because I’ve seen articles and shows everywhere talking about how sleep-deprived culture really needs to take another look at napping.  In the comments I hope you will leave your best reason for napping – that will be fun to read!!

So, we know rest and re-charge is critical but lots of people say “I just can’t nap!”. Sometimes napping involves actually sleep occurring and sometimes it is just a chance for our brains to rest, dance around a flit from topic to topic. The point is that we set aside a time (about 20 minutes to start) and a place (more on that in a minute) to let ourselves sink into resting.

Here are some of my best ideas for for creating a naptastic nap. 🙂

1) Cool, semi dark room. Even in the winter I like to have a slow fan going. In the summer, a fan makes the covers feel that much better.

2) Your favorite pillow. You have one – I know you do. So make sure it is your napping pillow.

3) A blanket. No need to unmake the bed (assuming you made it), but covers are critical.

4) Take off your shoes, belt – anything that feels constraining. You can’t get comfy if you can’t wiggle your toes.

5) Turn off your cell phone and unplug the house phone. Trust me. Nothing will happen that you can’t handle 20 minutes from now.

6) It goes without saying that you are napping in a different room from your laptop, right?

7) Set your alarm. this will keep you from stressing out about oversleeping if you do actually fall asleep.  Again 20-45 minutes is about as long as a nap should last. Any longer and you may have trouble shaking the cobwebs out of your brain for the rest of the day.

Then again, I learned a lot about napping from a great boss I had in Washington, D.C. After lunch each day, he told me to hold his calls, he closed his office door, and laid down on the floor for 45 minutes falling fast asleep. Find what works for you.

So I am anxious to know your thoughts about napping. Do you nap? Do you resist napping? Do you have nips for creating a great nap environment?!  Please share – you know that is my favorite part. 🙂

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