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Naptime ... not just for babies

Country Roads

September 5, 2012
Arvid Huisman ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Naps have not been a regular part of my life for many years. I see that changing.

Oh, I remember napping as a youngster. One particular summer day when I was four my mother put my one-year-old brother and me in a playpen under a shade tree in the front yard and we took a nap together.

I remember awaking confused, wondering what I was doing in a playpen under a shade tree.

Then came kindergarten and more naps. We had to bring a rug or pad or something to sleep on during naptime. Kindergarten was all-day for nine weeks when I was a kid and I remember having to lie down for a nap each day after lunch.

One of my classmates insisted on putting his foot on my nap pad every day. It drove me crazy. I still have problems with people getting into my space. A good shrink could tell me what the problem is but I don't care as long as I don't have to nap in public.

For nearly 60 years now naps have not been in the picture. Sure, when I'm ill I may catch some daytime winks. And if Saturday night gets too late I might sleep for 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon but Saturday nights don't get too late very often anymore.

A couple of Sundays ago I had difficulty staying awake during church. Then, after Sunday dinner, I sat down at my computer to work on a project but couldn't stay awake. I dozed off with my fingers on the keyboard. That had never happened before.

Always having considered naps the domain of children and old people I did a quick assessment. I am certainly not a child anymore. That left only one conclusion: I'm getting old and need naps.

I gave up and headed for the bedroom. With the bedroom door closed, I pounded my pillow perfect and covered myself with a blanket.

Slumber was nearly instant and the next thing I knew I was looking at the clock realizing I had slept for more than two hours.

Among the reasons I have avoided naps is that groggy feeling experienced upon awakening. You feel more tired than before you napped.

This day I suffered no grogginess. Operating with at least 60 percent less hair than I had 50 years ago, I awoke with a bad case of bed hair. A wet comb through the remaining hair made me sufficiently presentable to leave the bedroom.

That night I had no trouble falling asleep so I must have needed those two hours of nap sleep.

Subsequent Sundays have been busier so I haven't taken any naps since. Although, it is Sunday afternoon as I write this and well, I could use a few winks.

When I told friends about my Sunday nap several of them many younger than I admitted that afternoon naps are a regular part of their Sundays.

I remember my paternal grandfather stretching out on the living room floor after the noon meal and sleeping for an hour. A quick mental calculation revealed that Opa was younger at that time than I am now.

Perhaps it's time to begin a napping regimen. It'll have to be limited to weekends, however, as I don't imagine the boss would like to find me stretched out on the floor of my office on a weekday afternoon. If the boss did catch me napping I could say, "Whew! Guess I must have left the top off the White Out. You got here just in time!"

In many cultures around the world a short nap after the noon meal is a common practice. Entire business districts shut down during the siesta.

Do you wonder if those of us who are too busy to nap regularly are missing something? Imagine how much nicer we might treat each other if we had all had sufficient rest. Picture how much better our work might be if we all had been refreshed by a midday nap.

Robert Fulghum, author of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," wrote "Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap."

I can handle that.



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