Naps are good for you, experts agree. They refresh the body and the mind, stimulate creativity and promote general well-being.
Thomas Edison didn’t sleep except for about three hours every night. What he did was take frequent naps. Look how that worked out for him.
Unluckily for me, I could never take naps. When I try, I wake up feeling all groggy; fragmented, like a broken toy; disoriented and in a lousy mood. Overall, in more than 40 years as a relative adult, I have taken four successful naps.
That’s it — four naps, a number I can hold up on the fingers of just one hand. And it’s not that I don’t try. I have tried to nap but could not find a perfect fit — I either sleep soundly for many hours, but then cannot fall asleep at night, or get 20 minutes of fitful rest and then I feel crappy for the next few hours. I have tried coffee naps — that’s when you’re supposed to drink coffee, nap for 15–20 minutes, then wake up just as the caffeine kicks into drive. However, I am caffeine insensitive, so that didn’t go very well: I just kept on sleeping, then woke up hours later really needing to take a pee.
Amy, my sister-by-marriage, is a great napper. She could lay down in early afternoon, sleep for less than 30 minutes, and wake up raring to go.
Honestly, I am jealous. I sort of feel like it’s my personal failure. I mean, I know it’s not, but still… What this actually feels like is my relationship to coffee. It’s cool to be a coffee drinker, and it’s actually good for you (just black coffee really) but I can’t handle the bitter taste of it.
I have to keep reminding myself that I am not failing at life just because I am failing at naps. (And coffee.) I am living fairly productively and happily without napping. It would be nice, though, if I can refresh myself by napping, especially if I had a bad night of not sleeping well or not getting to bed early enough and not sleeping for long enough. That, however, doesn’t appear to be in the stars for me.
That’s all right. I will comfort myself about being a napping failure by successfully knitting up a hat. Or successfully scrambling an egg. Or doing that third thing that I do pretty well … whatever that is. The point is, I am enough, just as I am. And it doesn’t look like I am going to change any time soon, so appreciate me now and avoid the rush. You’ll either find me awake or totally sound asleep, but you won’t catch me napping.