Look at me, rolling around on that plastic blue mat with my eyes wide open. I’m supposed to be sleeping, but I’m too busy wondering what the kindergarten experience might be like with the lights turned off and the entire toy corner to myself. Across a sea of young bodies that lay dormant in rest, mine was restless, splashing about a backdrop of silence and stillness. I remember jealousy, too, watching from my hidden consciousness as my teacher indulged herself in a late-morning stack of pancakes. I absolutely love pancakes, and at the age of five, had not the cognitive capacity to understand why my teacher wouldn’t share her pancakes with us.
In was in that moment when everything became clear to me, and all the reasons for making 20 small children sleep when they didn’t want to had been exposed for the elaborate propaganda that it was. In my eyes, I had revealed the fallacy of nap-time: nap-time was about pancakes. Teachers had access to an endless supply of my favorite breakfast food, and while I lay, submissive and oblivious in sleep at their feet, they could stuff their faces in secret and deprive me of what I deemed to be an inalienable human right.
The pancakes aside, looking back now, adult-me really wants to shake the crap out of 5-year-old-me :
Forget the pancakes kid and rest up, because later on, they never let you sleep. Oh, and all the pancakes in the world isn’t going to make up for a lack of quality sleep.
(Though, I suppose that depends entirely upon the quality of the pancakes being served)
When I was 5, I made assumptions about the nature of nap-time, that nap-time meant: pancake time for teachers. But, that assumption of a naive little me is not unlike the assumptions society has about taking a time-out in the middle of the day to recharge your batteries.
Drive past any coffee stand or convenience store, where banners project promises of infinite energy meant to help you go “all day long”. I joked with a friend when we drove by a seven-eleven one summer that donned a black and yellow sign with a lightening bolt that read “Energy Coffee”. The advertisement ensured that this new coffee-on-crack would provide consumers with DOUBLE the energy of traditional caffeine fixes. This message, in addition to 100’s of other super human powers promised by countless energy drink campaigns, all share one implicit signal to society:
NEVER STOP. EVER.
As soon as we began to adopt a single-minded pursuit of wealth, and therefore, a blind sprint toward the feverish increase of production, we also began to robotize humanity:
We are machines. We do not rest until the work is finished. And, even then, when the work is done, we go home and keep on going.
At least this is how it feels.
But, this dehumanization of working life, perpetuated by a corporate culture obsessed with bottom lines, leaves no room for the physical limits of human bodies. Naps, and any sort of rest during the workday, is largely regarded as a necessity of the weak. As production becomes more and more prioritized, so too, does the stigma associated with the needs of normal human beings: things like breaks and time away from work, away from anything.
Suddenly, “down-time” is bad, and more than a 30-minute lunch break is considered unnecessary. (Recently, my job revamped lunch break time to encourage workers to take a 30-minute lunch instead of an hour break, by only paying for a 30-minute lunch).
As Americans, we often hear about “Siesta”, a time during the workday of Spanish citizens, where shops close for long lunches and naps in the afternoon. These people spend two or three hours eating and resting, in the middle of the workday! As an American worker, that’s an insane concept to me! The Spanish have their priorities right, though; they get it. It continues to baffle me to understand why American culture insists that our bodies and minds have no limitations for work, and that substantial rest during the day is not only intolerable, but grounds for being penalized.
Who says naps aren’t productive? Studies have found that a 30-minute nap during the day actually increases productivity up to 40%! That’s huge! Not to mention the increase in cognitive functioning. Why would our work culture deny us this simple allowance of regeneration? Look at cats: they don’t do sh*t all day and still need naps. Surely, we do too. In, fact, the whole damn animal kingdom is napping without us and doing just fine.
I say nap and plan to nap. Nap as hard as you can. Lay on your damn couch in the middle of the day on a Saturday with a good book and a fluffy pillow and knock the hell out. And, yeah— screw it—nap in the office, too. And when your boss catches you, or others hear of your new napping life and move to criticize it, simply claim your humanity and call them Big Brother.
So, now that you’re ready to take back your humanity and begin your goals of luxurious napping, here’s a short list of the naps you’ve been missing, or perhaps, simply forgot about while working in your sweatshop during the day.
The Power Nap
Everyone knows this nap. You’re exhausted, but a lull in the day has provided you with a 15-20 minute window for unconsciousness before your schedule resumes its demands of you. You turn off your office lights, or crash on your couch at home for those few minutes. And, finally, when you come to again, you feel like a million bucks.
Nobody gonna break-a your stride, Nobody gonna hold you down, OH NO. (You know the rest)
The Cat Nap
This is that nap you take accidentally while laying or sitting in a quiet space during late afternoon. The silence and warmth of the space you’re in unknowingly sends you into a shallow sleep that finds you waking to a lazy, yet peaceful state of mind that’s generally carefree with nowhere to be.
The Time Warp Nap
You wake up suddenly from this nap, ripped from a peaceful slumber that sends your confused mind into a state of minor panic because you don’t know what damn day it is. Often you begin to piece your life together again by frantically scrambling for some evidence of time, place, and who you are.
The Depressed Nap
When you hit a rough patch, this is the nap you go to. It’s the kind that leaves you in bed most of the day, engaging in little more than trips to the bathroom and refrigerator. You might watch a gameshow or two, but that’s only until you can find enough media evidence to confirm the sad state of your own life in comparison with the perfect lives of others on television.
The Bored Nap
When there’s nothing to do, nap. You work hard enough without having to fill every damn time slot in your waking life with some errand or demand or activity that isn’t necessary. We all know that saying: “Curiosity killed the cat, but if that cat had taken a nap instead, he’d still be alive”.
Let this be a reminder: if there’s nothing to do, better play it safe and keep the peace going—nap.
The Post Orgasm Nap
This is probably one of the greatest naps that ever existed. After a sweaty workout with your partner in the nude, you pass out quicker than that dude on the news who wakes up in a dentist’s chair with his pants unbuttoned. You can barely remember the orgasm, because one 15-minute Post Orgasm Nap feels like you’ve been asleep for 20 years. HELL YEAH.
Do you nap? Comment Below…