Last year I read a book called Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina. One of the twelve rules and twelve chapters in the book is about Sleep. People have all manner of valid and varied sleep patterns. Some are early risers; some are late risers; some are in-between risers. The amount of sleep people need is still not certain. But one thing most scientists agree on is that the “biological drive for an afternoon nap is universal.” (p. 168) Mid-afternoon drowsiness is not just the result of an overload of carbs at lunchtime; it’s a basic human need.
Most of the adults I know don’t have the opportunity for a nap. I have a pseudo-heroic, stoic attitude of plowing through the afternoon drowsiness without benefit of sleep or rest. I’ve only taken about six naps in my entire adulthood. My husband, however, is a master at the twelve-to-twenty-minute nap. He can take one sitting up or lying down. I’ve teased him over the years about his infantile need for a nap; but I have to confess his late afternoon and early evening mood and productivity are way better than mine.
So one of the things I decided to do for Lent was to take a daily nap. Maybe naps would make me a kinder and gentler human being. I’ve been 85% unsuccessful. I have managed only three naps in the first twenty days. But those three naps made a positive difference in both my attitude and my energy. Besides feeling kinder and gentler, I woke up praying. The same thing happens to me most mornings. So if a nap can restore my stamina and serenity plus give me an extra prayer time in the day, maybe I should try it more often. It’s 3:22 PM and I think I’ll try again right now.