Tag Archives: Sleep

Rest Revolution

This radical confession could create cultural schisms the size of the Grand Canyon. But I believe in honesty when dealing with my readers, so here goes:

I take naps.        

Oh, I know some confess to sneaky snoozes on weekends. I mean daily naps during the week, when employees buzz around workloads like frantic worker bees.

“No wonder you take naps. You’re a writer,” critics point out. “What else could we expect of a degenerate who talks to imaginary people and spends half her waking hours in jammies?”

I resemble that remark. But in defense of jammies, real waistbands stifle creativity.

Back to the nap issue. Is it so difficult to believe a short rest empowers workers? In a word, yes. Anti-nap propaganda has programmed us for decades. As a college student, I never considered naps an option, not even when my then-boyfriend, now-husband, claimed I’d turned 200 pages of my zoology book, my eyes closed.

As a young office worker, I sneaked to a back room at noon and closed the drapes so no one knew I was sleeping. You would have thought I was conducting drug deals. Naps, even during breaks, make supervisors nervous. Just because my boss once tripped over my prostrate form … He recovered nicely after cardio rehab.

Like others, I have fought illegal slumber with coffees, colas and energy drinks that could substitute for rocket fuel. Some misguided souls believe noontime exercise generates energy. Since when does energy output increase energy input? They obviously have never chased after two-year-olds.

Efficient work policies include power naps, which promote employee health and safety. Alert employees are less likely to fall out of their chairs, catch their noses in machinery or flush themselves. They provide faster, friendlier service and make fewer mistakes. Studies have shown that teachers permitted a brief daily collapse are less likely to leave the country after the second day of school. Only three percent of air flight controllers who nap direct pilots to park behind McDonald’s.

Still, old attitudes are difficult to change. Decades passed before my breakthrough. One day, having dozed off, I awoke at my laptop to discover my fingers had purchased 307 Pampered Chef ice cream dippers.

I ejected from the computer, set my cell phone alarm and crashed.

A 45-minute, preventative nap could have saved my relatives the prospect of ice cream dipper gifts every Christmas until 2037.

“But I can’t fall asleep in 45 minutes!” some protest. Soothing music, accompanied by fake waterfalls and synthesized bird twitters, often prove effective. Other daytime insomniacs use power-of-suggestion downloads. I, however, find nothing works like the Lacrosse Channel or Bonanza reruns.

Speaking of Bonanza, the opening music has begun. Grab your blanky. Take a stand — er, sofa. Snuggle down, close your eyes and join the power nap revolution that … will change the … world … zzzzzzzzz.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a rest revolutionary?

Morning Vs. Night People

Two kinds of people coexist in this world: morning people and night people. Night people don’t officially breathe until noon. Morning people stop breathing at 10:00 p.m. Or earlier.

During peak energy hours, both can conquer their respective worlds. During lethargy hours, they also conquer those worlds, but they require coffee. Oxygen. And a spouse/parent/boss wielding a high-voltage cattle prod.

All toddlers and preschoolers are morning people. Their shiny inner weaponry systems launch them from bed at the crack of dawn. They will begin search and destroy missions unless intercepted with a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.®

 Fortunately, they retire early, which explains why the human race has survived.

The lone exception: if a parent must reach a destination before 8:00 a.m. Then little ones portend the future when, as comatose teenaged princesses, they won’t awaken if 10 Prince Charmings appear; or, as hairy 17-year-olds, they must be spatulaed from their beds.

I, an oddball teen, retained my morning person habits. As a college student, however, I had to change my ways.

Even my boyfriend, Steve, who shared my staunch early-to-bed-early-to-rise background, joyously embraced night-person status. I attempted staying awake till midnight. According to Steve, I learned new study skills, including turning pages for hours while dead asleep. When our weekend Bible study group partied, I never lasted through a game of Monopoly. Dragged to a quiet corner, I snoozed until awakened for breakfast.

Regardless, I, a dedicated music student, hit the practice rooms by 8 a.m. Afterward, I phoned my boyfriend.

Groggily, he asked, “Did I miss breakfast?”

“You missed lunch.”

“Oh.” Then, “You want to get something to eat?”

I’d already eaten twice. But if the early bird got the worm, pecan pie proved a satisfactory substitute.

After marriage, a studio apartment, medical school/practice and new babies helped us cope with our incompatibility. We no longer categorized ourselves as morning or night people. We mostly were exhausted.

Fast forward a few decades. Steve has slipped into old patterns, staying up to finish compelling books or ball games. He occasionally sleeps in, wrapped in blankets like a giant burrito. I confess to adopting his stay-in-bed vice during dark, arctic months.

But soon, dew-fresh spring mornings will arrive. I’ll run outside early to welcome delicious fragrances wafting from earth, trees and flowers. Most birds are morning people, too, singing their best concerts at dawn. On days like that, how could I be anything else?

Which do you do better, mornings or nights?