Do you ever listen to NPR's This I Believe? I love those essays and often daydream about getting one on the air but I have nothing to say. Oh, I believe in America, community service, tolerance, patience...basically, whatever the speaker is discussing. My problem is that I don't have a grand-mother, uncle, sister, or friend who gave me life changing advice, nor have I lived through any catastrophic event that has shaped my thinking. Sad to say, but I'm pretty boring. But I do believe in stuff, for instance, I'm a huge believer in naps. I know, not exactly NPR fodder.
I discovered the joys of napping one summer when I babysat by day and stage managed at night. Nights run late in theater when you have to have the obligatory post-rehearsal/show beer. So during the day, after lunch we had quiet time. I found that I just needed 10-15 minutes of shut eye to take the edge off. After my "power" nap, I became sprightly and more fun and way less interested in the latest torture techniques.
My favorite place to nap is on my couch. It lends just the right amount of comfort and structure to send me zzzing to the land of Nod. When I nap in my room, it seems too formal and I feel the need to sleep now! This pressure only allows me to lap at the shores of a deep, restful sleep without actually getting there. It's as if the nap is teasing me; no, the couch is sooo much better.
When my kids were young, I used to think of the hours between 5-7 pm as the witching hour. I thought my children became horrible beasts during that time. Turns out, they were and still are fine and truly well-behaved. It's me, in need of a nap, who is cranky. Really, around 4 pm, my entire body shuts down and screams for a bit of shut eye. Unfortunately, I can't usually nap at that time because it's when my kids are coming home from school. So I've had to devise ingenious ways of getting my body to nap earlier in the day. Sometimes, when a production has screwed up my sleeping, I'll stay up really late after a show or rehearsal. The next day, I'll get up to get my kids on the bus, forgo coffee, and then return to bed for 45 minutes. That usually does the trick, giving me the energy I need to get things done. Because nothing slows me down more than when my body is in need of sleep. I wonder if high-powered negotiations would fare much better if everyone just took a nap during them?
I've heard that Napoleon wasn't much of a sleeper but he'd nap often throughout the day, catching 5 minutes here, 15 minutes there. I've also been reading a memoir from writer/runner Haruki Murakami who believes that he is so healthy partly because he naps. And, I've heard about companies designating nap rooms in their offices so their employees can get a little shut eye. So, you see I'm not alone. But still, I can't see NPR producing an essay about believing in naps: I believe in America! I believe in community service! I believe in naps! Nah...