Not too long ago, I found myself with some actual free time. (Yes, it was kind of like locating a unicorn.) In any case, while I could have headed over to the pool to get in some laps, I wandered into my room instead. Before I knew what was happening, I had peeled back the covers on my bed and slipped inside.
It felt so delicously naughty.
A week or so later, I did it again. I took a nap in the middle of the day. At first, I was shocked at my complete disregard for what should be the productive hours of the day. I was raised to believe that one should use one’s available time to move onward and upward. My 94-year-old mother would no doubt chime in here, lecturing me about the need to prepare for my retirement. “Old age is expensive!” she would certainly point out. “Use your time wisely.”
I do not have much of a history in regard to napping, though I’m pretty sure I was one of the wiggle worms my kindergarten teacher had to constantly admonish when we whipped out those wee blankies from our cubbyholes back when I was five.
And yet a pattern has emerged recently. I started napping on a regular basis. Because I was feeling a tad guilty about nestling my head into that pillow at mid-afternoon, I felt compelled to see if what I was doing was good for me. Turns out, it is. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Napping offers various benefits for healthy adults, including relaxation, reduced fatigue, increased alertness, improved mood and improved perfomance, including quicker reaction time and better memory.” So, that’s good.
However, it is suggested that we keep naps short – between 10 and 20 minutes – because more sleepy time might make us groggy. This is true, and yet I can’t ever manage to wake from my afternoon delight until 40 minutes have passed. It is also recommended that one not nap after 3:00 PM, of which I am also guilty. Finally, nappers need to create a restful environment free of distractions. While I do try, my blue-eyed cattle dog does feel the need to spoon with me during naps and one of my feline friends can only find kitty comfort if he’s plopped down next to my face.
Then there’s something they call a powernap. Rather misnomer-ish, I think. Power and nap just don’t mesh, in my worldview. Still, “The 20-minute power nap — sometimes called the stage 2 nap — is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano.”
I’d like to play the piano. In fact, the one thing I regret in my life is that I never took those piano lessons more seriously. So, perhaps I will consider power naps, as well as piano lessons.
In the meantime, I will continue to experiment with napping, on the chance that practice will improve my snoozing skills. Now, if only the dog would move over and give me some room.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
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As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.