Oh, how I love a nap!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is there anything better than afternoon sleep, specifically winter afternoon sleep, even more specifically, sleeping on a winter Sunday afternoon? It is that sweet feeling of slowly slipping from drowsiness to dozing to deep dreamless slumber.

The soft couch cuddles your body while a fluffy blanket envelopes you in its warm embrace. Outside a cold wind blows and stirs the leaves, sending them whirling around the gray, cloudy landscape.

There is something special about this kind of daytime rest. It is like this little present you give yourself, the gift of quiet and peaceful stillness at a time usually spent awake and moving.

When I was a kid I did not like nor appreciate afternoon sleep, known in those days as naptime. Stopping to rest while daylight reigned and held so much potential for adventure seemed a waste. Sleep was for night, and only necessary to recharge me for more daylight adventures.

I never understood the adult attraction to stretching out and drifting into dreamland at such an odd time. And, even if it appealed to grownups, why, oh why did they insist on including me.

Some Sundays, I would slip out of my room and steal down the steps to listen outside my parents’ bedroom door, hoping to hear them discussing how we were about to, as we called it as kids, “go riding around.” More often than not, the deep rumble of Daddy’s slow breathing announced that naptime was in full swing and riding around or anything other than snoozing was not happening for quite a while.

Funny how life changes your perspective and gives you understanding you did not have when you were younger. Now I get it that with six kids ranging in age from teenager to toddler, some rest on a Sunday afternoon was probably a highlight in a hectic week. By including children in naptime or at least by getting them to be still for a while, it meant that peace and quiet might actually be, for a brief time, the reality in a usually noisy house.

I thought of this on a cold Sunday as I sat in a comfortable chair trying to read my new book about watercolor painting. I turned the pages, struggling to keep the words and images from running together like those watercolors as my eyes blurred with sleepiness.

Finally I gave up, let a big yawn escape, shut the book and leaned my head back, allowing my eyes to close. That is when I thought about how sweet it is to give in to napping on a winter afternoon. I picked up my iPad and typed these thoughts, growing sleepier with each word.

As I fought the desire to let sleep overtake my efforts to stay awake, it occurred to me that this might be a better world if everyone took a nice long afternoon nap at least once a week. Imagine all people everywhere giving themselves rest and quiet smack in the middle of a time not resevered for such an activity.

Who knows how much stress it might release, how much tension a good nap might ease. Maybe that was the secret my parents knew all those years ago and tried to pass on to us with their mandated naps.

That was what whispered in my head as I settled onto the couch, pulled a fluffy pink snuggie around me and prepared to give myself the wonderful gift of afternoon sleep, specifically sleep on a winter Sunday afternoon.

Oh is there anything better than that sweet release as your eyes close and you slowly drift off to…