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  • Writer's pictureSarah

My Daily Nap

I am an early riser. Although I never set an alarm, I generally awaken every morning between 5:30 and 6:30am. I stay busy most of the day, and indeed I am a person who thrives on staying busy. But every afternoon: I take a nap!

Daily napping started as a survival mechanism about 7 years ago in the midst of mothering an infant who slept very poorly, but now both of my kids sleep well and I usually sleep 7-8 hours per night.  Yet, I still take a nap every day. And I don't plan to ever stop. 

Benefits of Napping

Numerous studies have shown that naps have significant benefits, including increased productivity, motor skills, and mood. One study showed that "a nap improves mental performance, even after a full night's sleep" [1].

For me, taking a daily nap provides a brief respite for my busy, always-on-the-go self. As a homeschooling mother who is also working part-time from home, my time and attention are being pulled in many different directions for much of the day.  My daily nap allows me to recharge and be refreshed for the evening ahead. It gives me a calm, temporary stopping place. It is a lovely, cherished part of every day.

If I don't take a daily nap, I am more likely to be grumpy or burned-out in the evening.  Without a nap, I am less engaged with my family in the evening, and may feel like I want to be left alone. And if I my mood is poor, the mood in our whole household is negatively affected. So my daily nap actually provides a tangible benefit to my family and our home.

My Nap Routine

My nap is generally around 2:30 or 3pm each day. On rare occasions, I will shift my nap an hour or two earlier to accommodate some afternoon commitment, but for the most part I plan my napping time as a scheduled event that happens every day. Excepting the few times a year when we are away from home, I could count on one hand the number of times I have missed my daily nap in the last year.

My nap has been such a regular part of our lives for so long now that my children just expect it every day as part of our daily Quiet Time. My brain tends to be thinking fast all the time I am awake, so I need to do some calming activity before napping. Reading and/or yoga work well for this.

Then I close the curtains partway (never all the way, or I awake feeling groggy), change into comfy clothes, and snuggle down. Most of the time I naturally wake after 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I sleep for an hour (and usually do feel a little groggy on those days). I only set an alarm if I have some commitment or appointment after the nap, and I usually wake before the alarm anyways.

Naps Are Part of Many Cultures

Many cultures include daily napping. For instance, a siesta (short nap in the early afternoon) is "historically common throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Europe" [2].  In "many parts of the world—including Greece, the Philippines, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Nigeria—naps are seamlessly woven into the tapestry of everyday life" [3].  Naps are often frowned upon for adults in our culture, but I think this needs to change.  Short naps are beneficial, and in my own experience, they make life run more smoothly.

Do you nap? Have you tried Power Napping?

[1] The effects of a 20-min nap before post-lunch dip, Mitsuo Hayashi PhD and Tadao, Hori PhD, Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Volume 52, Issue 2, pages 203–204, April 1998 [2]  [3]

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