My mother says when I was a child, she would give me a pacifier and I knew it was time to go to sleep or take a nap, but I never remember napping. I only remember praying daily that my children would nap because those precious hours were my gifted time.
As an adult, I don’t nap and don’t enjoy it. Nap-lover memes or quotes on mugs make me giggle, but in actuality, I can’t relate.
“You know you’ve grown up when naps is no longer a punishment but a reward.”
“I’ve reached the age when happy hour is a nap.”
“When life knocks you down, stay there and take a nap.”
“Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two…”
More than 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day. Humans are part of the minority of monophasic sleepers, meaning that our days are divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, while naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness, and performance.
Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison are known to have valued an afternoon nap.
For me, naps are a waste of time.
Furthermore, when I wake up from a nap, I feel broken. I’m grumpy, discombobulated and out of sorts for the rest of the day. Naps and I don’t agree because of my inability to resign to physically losing minutes from my life. Also, biologically, a disruption in my circadian rhythm and routine in my body doesn’t like to be jostled.
I’m not discounting the biological brain-boosting benefits which could be derived from the famous 20-minute power nap, but it takes me at least 20 minutes to fall asleep, and the brutal wake up is too jarring for me to garner any real advantages. For now, naps will continue to exist on my “things which are good for me and I should try to incorporate into my life,” list, right next to meditation.