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The Art of Napping

Definitely taking a nap:-)
Creative Commons License photo credit: mysza83

“There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.” – Ovid

I love to take naps.  Most days, however, I’m at work and a nap just isn’t possible.  So when I do get the chance, I take it as often as I can.

Although napping is an art where no technique is really necessary, here are some ideas to make nap time one of your favorite pleasures.

Give Up Your Guilt – First and foremost, if you feel guilty about taking a nap in the afternoon, that will impact your enjoyment of the process.  Somewhere in life we all started thinking that naps were lazy and only for children.  This is false.  Naps are one of my most favorite pleasures, and I predict that I am not alone.  It’s not that I’m being lazy, I’m simply doing something that I enjoy.  And taking breaks and enjoyment are an important part of each day.

Have A Time Limit – In general, a nap-length sleep is somewhere in the 30 minute range, give or take 10 minutes.  Much more than that and you may have more than a nap on your hands.  I find that if I nap too long, I wake up groggy or I may not be ready to sleep that night.  A nap is just a brief foray into dream-land.  Keep it such and you will feel more refreshed when you do have to get up.

Pick A Place – Lucky for us, naps are not limited to just our beds.  The couch, the floor, a comfy chair or outside are all good choices, but you are really not limited.  In a sense, your nap-spot picks you.  If you get so comfortable that you just can’t help but fall asleep, that’s the right place.  🙂

Pre-Nap Activity – Speaking of getting comfortable, sometimes naps become spontaneous while we’ve gotten sleepy reading a book or watching TV.  My advice – abandon your activity that has gotten you into the nap-mood and fall asleep.  There are no rules that say you have to finish whatever you were doing first!

Don’t Try To Fall Asleep – If your nap is not so spontaneous and you’ve laid down simply for a nap’s sake, don’t try too hard to fall asleep.  Afternoon sleepiness tends to sneak up on us, but if we try to summon it, the feeling may not come.  Simply lie down and close your eyes.  Even if you don’t actually fall asleep, resting with your eyes clothes is enjoyable too.  Usually, if you don’t think about it that much, sleepiness will come.

Afternoon Light – One of my favorite parts about napping is the way the sunlight looks and feels in the afternoon.  Positioning myself near a window gives me full enjoyment of the sun.  It’s funny because when we sleep at night, pitch black is usually optimal, but afternoon napping can make great use of the waning late day sunlight.

Don’t Jump Up Right Away – When waking up from a nap, don’t spring into action right away.  Give yourself a few minutes to get used to the waking world again.  Basking in the glow of your nap is almost as good as falling asleep initially was.  🙂

Do you take naps?  Any other ideas to share?  Leave them in the comments!

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  1. Hi Amanda,
    I used to never take naps. Me? Need a nap – no way!

    Not anymore! Now…if I can, and I feel the urge to close my eyes, I do just that. The sofa or the bed are my favorite places – and having the sun stream in – ahhh, I couldn’t agree more on how good this feels.

    And the truth is – after it’s over, I’m refreshed! So – maybe having these at work would make us all more productive!
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Sunday Thought For The Day =-.

  2. I really needed a post like this. I’ve never been a very big fan of napping because I’ve never been very good at it. Your advice sounds great and I’m going to give it a go. I might need it today with the jet lag I feel coming on after my return from England!

  3. I avoid taking naps. It messes up with my night sleep. But sometimes, while reading at noon time I get drowsy and give in to the temptation of sleep. There is nothing sweeter than a mid day nap.
    .-= Avani Mehta´s last blog ..I Am The Power =-.

  4. Naps are great ways to rejuvenate the body for more work. Begin able to take a 15 minute nap can actually give you more energy and positive moment for the rest of the day!
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..How to End Procastination in 4 Easy Steps =-.

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Lance – I began taking naps again when I was in college, because I had a schedule that allowed it. Before that though, taking a nap in the middle of the day would have seemed a little strange to me. Now it’s one of my favorite pleasures.

    Hi Dani – Oh yes, a jet lag nap is just what the doctor ordered. I know you are not supposed to, because you need to get back on your regular sleep schedule, but it just feels so good!!

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Avani – I also love falling asleep while reading. Wonderful.

    Hi Jonathan – I agree, naps always refresh me when I need it. 🙂

  7. We were gone all week back in MI because my mom’s kidney’s are failing. Got home late last night exhausted and did nothing all morning and then to a nap!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Mondays are 1/7 of Your Life =-.

  8. Hilarious quote from Ovid! I love naps myself, and I agree that napping is a great way to experience and move through guilt from childhood. 🙂

  9. It’s hard to take a nap when your mind is clogged with many things. It’s better to be at peace with the world for just a while, letting go of everything and let our bodies get that short yet peaceful necessity of life. 🙂

  10. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Tess – The morning off and the nap sounds wonderful. Sorry to hear about your Mom!

    Hi Chris – Yeah, I liked that one ;). I never thought of it that way – moving through guilt from childhood – but that’s exactly what it is.

    Hi Walter – I agree, you are never going to drift off to sleep if your mind is spinning. Being still for while is an excellent rest for your body.

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