DEBORAH CROMBIE: And no, I don't mean I subscribe to the music file-sharing service. I mean I am a dedicated napper. Maybe there was a time, long ago (kindergarten?) when I didn't like to nap, but that is lost in the mists of memory.
My love affair with naps began with trips to Mexico in my elementary school and teenage years. Why, I wondered, didn't everyone have "siesta"? And even better, you got to stay up late! I spent the summer I was eighteen in Mexico City with friends of my parents. Oh, it was lovely. Breakfast about nine, with milky coffee, fruit, and those wonderful Mexican sweet breads, pan dulce. Then around two, there was La Comida, the big meal of the day, served formally in the dining room, with courses. And after that, of course, "La Siesta." Afterwards everyone went back to work or school with renewed energy. Dinner was around nine in the evening. And then there were cappuccinos and much talk in the cafes of La Zona Rosa. (There is always much talk in Mexico!)
I think I knew even at eighteen that I had found my perfect body rhythm, and that has never changed--although it certainly went through adjustments in my child-raising, regular job years.
I have found, writing, that I do very well in the morning (assuming I've had enough sleep), but that once I eat lunch, even a very light snack, I hit what
feels like a brick wall. My brain slows to a crawl. My eyelids droop.
The computer screen blurs and my productivity drops to zero. There is
nothing for it but a NAP.
It doesn't have to be a long nap. Twenty to thirty minutes will do it. Usually, I wake up full of ideas, ready for my afternoon cup of tea, and knowing just exactly what to write next. And then I'm on a roll until I have to quit to throw the tennis ball for Dax and fix dinner.
For years I felt guilty about this, my little nap secret.
But now I am vindicated! Researchers are shouting the benefits of naps! They increase productivity, creativity, and improve memory. And did you know that your brain even cleans itself while you sleep, getting rid of accumulated "trash?"
So, REDS, are any of you nappers, secret or out-of-the-closet?
HALLIE EPHRON: Debs, sounds like we were separated at birth. I nap every day that I can. After lunch (YES!) some time around 1:30 to 2:30 I crash. And if I can shut down for even twenty or thirty minutes I'm ready to go again.
So my question: why do robo callers ALWAYS call when I'm about to... or have just fallen asleep?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: This is so funny..until maybe two years ago, I would NEVER have napped. I suppose that has something to do with being at a job where they would frown on it. But I never felt tired in the afternoon. And I still don't, on my days at Channel 7. But when I am on tour, and crazed, I try to snag twenty minutes and just close my eyes, sitting up on the hotel bed usually, and try to meditate out. I tell myself--"wake up in twenty minutes" and I always do. Then I get up and shake it out a bit. It really makes a difference. Just 20 minutes. I'm never quite sure I'm actually asleep, but suddenly the time is gone, and bing. I'm up.
I never snuggle down in the actual bed, though. If I did--I'd be there for hours, and wake groggy and needing scrambled eggs.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: OH, my Lord, do I love napping. I mean, I assume I was just as squirmy and anti-nap when I was a kid as most of them are (sleeping, like wine and mushrooms, is a pleasure only shared by adults.) But when I was a permanently sleep-deprived stay at home mom with two under two, I learned to power nap. As soon as those little angels were down for the count, mommy hit the sheets.
I almost never nap during the week, unless I've really messed up my sleep the night before. For me, the best nap time is Sunday afternoon. We get home from church, have a bite to eat, I take off my skirt and pantyhose and climb into bed. No guilt about what I ought to be doing instead - it is the Day of Rest, after all.
Three important factors for a good nap? 1.The bed must be made before you get in, so the sheets are nice and smooth and cool. 2. White noise: I put on the bathroom fan and shut the door. The pleasant whoosh whoosh drowns out the neighbor's lawnmower, my offspring, etc. 3. Pajamas! I change into them for the nap for extra comfort. Maybe I should get special nap-only pjs. And while I'm wishing, here's my dream nap setting: a made-in-Maine Penobscot Bay porch swing. Now that's luxury...
So, readers, how about you? To nap, or not to nap, that is the question...