What was your first thought upon reading the title of this post? A sarcastic "Sure, my boss will love that!”, an overwhelmed “No way I can nap with two kids and a full-time job!”, or a defeated "I’m always behind schedule as it is, so forget about napping.” ?
I hear you. Responsabilities are real. Still, I'm going to suggest you consider napping. As a committed long-time napper myself, I can assure you a daily nap has only made me more focused, creative, and sane, overtime. Let’s see if I can convince you to take up this wonderful practice.
Marching, uh…napping, to the beat of your own drum.
We do not live in a society that encourages napping in the middle of the day. True. But nor do we live in a society that encourages us to watch less television, spend more time outdoors, consume less and better. Does that mean we shouldn't do any of that? And fall into the still dominant paradigm that says you have to work hard (very, very hard), in order to be deserving of a good life? God forbid you should feel bad, sad, mad or plain exhausted. Buy something, we’re told. Buy yourself some well-being! If only.
Who is this model working for? Certainly not for the majority of us, looking at our collective state of health compared to other wealthy nations. (National Research Council (US); Institute of Medicine (US); Woolf SH, Aron L, editors.) But since you’re here, I'm going to assume you’re part of a subculture of deliberate creators, intent on living your life independently from the dictates of society.
Seemingly innocuous, a daily nap can positively disrupt your consciousness, and help you more than you ever knew in creating a business and life you love, while enjoying the ride. Napping is also one quiet element of an increasingly not-so-quiet revolution against the “work hard ‘til you die” paradigm. (Thank you Arianna Huffington),
From Provence to New York - My Napping Journey
As a farmer’s daughter, napping has always been part of my life. Back in their working days, my parents woke up around 5 a.m., and worked until sunset. When you have that kind of schedule, napping is a necessity. Naturally, I followed their rhythm, and almost always lay down after lunch for a little siesta. When I moved to New York City after high school, napping came with me. In between dance classes, I napped. Nowadays, I often see clients at 8 a.m., sometimes earlier, and as late as 8 p.m. How can I keep my energy strong from start to finish? You guessed it, by napping. The truth is, long day or not, I still nap! I relish that pause too much. Most of all, my napping habit has helped me keep everything in perspective: work, health, romance, finances, even global unrest. And if you care to know, perspective is the #1 stress-relief solution.
Five Reasons You Should Nap
To recharge your batteries. Instead of the quick and short-lived energy boost provided by caffeine or sugar, go for the stable energy a nap provides.
To disconnect from doing and get back to being. Is your life spinning so fast you sometimes don't know why you're doing what you're doing, and who's doing it? Nap. It will provide perspective.
To stop a bad momentum in its tracks. If you woke up late, skipped breakfast, rushed to work feeling frazzled, and a chaotic morning ensued, you know you've got an unhappy momentum going. How do you reset? Nap.
To ease into sleep at night. This may seem paradoxical but the body needs a minimum of energy to shut itself down at night. When we’re beyond exhausted, we end up running on nervous energy, hence the expression tired-wired. We might then resort to alcohol, drugs or food, to knock ourselves out. Not sustainable. Nap to avoid the tired-wired state, and ease into sleep naturally.
The Art of Napping
If you’re going to nap, you need to shut out the external world. Cover your eyes, plug your ears, unplug electronic devices, shut the door. Whatever it takes to make conditions optimal for relaxation. For those of you nine-to-fivers, yes it is possible to nap at work. The New York Times even wrote about it.
Let’s turn the expression “work-life balance” into more than a pretty phrase. Take a nap for your sake, my sake, our sake. Let’s rest more, so we can bring our most sane, sharp and creative selves to the table, wherever your “table” is.
(ps. If you struggle with sleep issues, Yoga for Deep Sleep is this Sunday at the Jewish Community Center, click here to register)