the art of the nap

everyone has talents. some paint, some compose great works of music, some write the epic poetry.

i nap. it’s a talent borne of years and years of sleep deprivation, and the resulting exhaustion that overtakes me in the middle of the days following being up till the middle of the nights, most every night. vicious cycle, yes, and yet, it works for me. i know if i were to force myself to stay awake all day, i might get to sleep at a reasonable hour, but when i do that i wake up no less than four times in an average 7 or 8 hour sleep period. yes, this is a disorder of sorts. i don’t mind at all, so i have sought no treatment.

because i can nap, oh my yes i can. i can nap in my car at lunch, quite comfortably, due to cushy leather buick-ness of those back seats. i can nap in the bathroom, believe it or not. i have this down to a science. i always get back to my desk before the 15 minutes it takes my monitor to go dark from inactivity. if anyone ever questioned this i could claim it just takes me a while to do my business, and who would object? it’s never come to that, but i have my excuse at the ready, just in case.

most importantly, i can nap amidst utter chaos. i can nap on the couch with the cat infringing on my space, the tv on nickelodeon, and the boy-child playing computer games on nick.com with the annoying, repetitive sound effects loops.

these are all alpha-state naps, not quite asleep, just in the deep numb tinglys and early dreamstate spacey mental images incorporating, at some level, the sounds around me, which leaves me able to respond to the world around me if necessary. i developed this talent when i was working three jobs, one of which was driving a taxi at night. during the quiet times i would lay down across the front seat and turn the radio mostly down. i would doze, and the sound of my cab number was the only thing that would interrupt my doze. unfortunately, as time went by and chronic exhaustion took its toll, i would be roused by the cab number but momentarily unable to figure out what it was i was supposed to do (pick up the mic, depress the switch, and say my cab number back to the dispatcher as an acknowledgement). luckily, at that point it was time to quit anyway, the day job got more lucrative and i had the camaro i was working myself silly for (oh, i miss that car).

this sleep schedule allows me to be on the internet until late every night. i had a good hour and a half, half-asleep on the sofa earlier this evening, and now that the rest of the house has settled down, i get peace with my computer till all hours.

13 thoughts on “the art of the nap

  1. creative napping is a much underrated thing.
    in fact, scientific experiments have proven that if you put people in an environment with no defined day/night cycle, they naturally develop a big sleep/short sleep cycle.
    apparently all those geniuses who “only slept 3 hours a night” were frequently found nodding off on the sofa.

    so nap happy in the knowledge that it actually makes you *more* creative and useful afterward. plus it’s really, really, nice.

  2. yes! definitely more creative and focused afterwards. even the slightest break in consciousness leaves me feeling refreshed and renewed. i love my naps.

  3. Explain to me how you nap in the bathroom? Do you mean on the toilet? If so, don’t you ever fall off?

    I love napping. Adore it. The best ones are the 2-3 hour naps that provide me with enough gas to be up late into the night.

    And napping in the car while my husband drives…oi. My favorite.

  4. I love napping also..
    But I fell asleep at the beginning of “Lord of the Rings” yesterday. I started snoring. Good thing my friend woke me up so I could see the rest of the movie…

  5. Oh yes- I do nap! I love my naps! I thought I was the only one with this secret. I, too, love to catch a few z’s during the day and stay up later into the night… I even wake up for two or three hours and work in the middle of the night sometimes when it’s nice and quiet. I feel like I have the whole world to myself… I absolutely don’t mind it either- people hear me mention it and groan, but I love it.

    Must have more taxicab stories… I bet there’s some great ones. -cr

  6. I am a bed-napper. Occasionally during Sunday baseball games, I will be a couch-napper (when my desire to watch the Mets collides with my desire to close my eyes). But this constant dropping in and out of consciousness you describe, this ability to sleep whilst all around you chaos is breaking loose…it’s a gift if you’ve got it and a curse if you’re the one left awake.

  7. my body is almost always at that point. i think from the time i went to sleep till the time i woke up this morning there were three hours in between. hell, i’ve been up two hours & already ready for the nap.

  8. I, too, am a napper!! I was always a “morning” person, until I started dabbling in the seedy underbelly of SF. Then, of course, I was up all night. Now, I’m conflicted. One foot in each world. So, I take naps, and I get to stay right where I am.

    I LOVE naps.

  9. Sigh…I wish I could learn this art…..you are all so lucky to be able to do this!!! I am just waiting for that scientific machine that lets me sleep two hours and actually have eight…:-)

  10. I love naps, but I’m not as good at it as Francisco. If I go over 20 minutes, I feel groggy. He can nap for a good solid 2 hours and wake up perky. I’m so jealous. LOL

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