A recent story in the Guardian — “Ideas for modern living: Napping, The art and pleasure of 40 winks” by Simon J. Williams — got me thinking about one of the simplest pleasures in life: an afternoon nap.
Writes Williams: “So is napping a solution to the pressures and demands of modern life? Well, maybe. It is certainly undergoing a makeover these days as a ‘smart’ option in the 24/7 society, given the costs and consequences of sleep deprivation. Napping is also becoming respectable, if not an officially sanctioned practice, in some modern workplaces. Hence the advent of the power nap, the napping pod and other sleep-friendly policies, such as duvet days for bleary-eyed employees…A more positive valuation of sleep is certainly long overdue. To sell sleep in primarily productive terms, however, is surely symptomatic of our problematic relationship with sleep these days.”
I don’t know why I so often refuse myself the happiness of an afternoon nap. I work from home so there’s no one looking over my shoulder. I’m frequently sleep-deprived enough, thanks to a love of late night activities and an overactive imagination that often kicks in around 4am. And yet whenever I’m tired in the afternoon, heavy lidded and nodding off in front of the screen, I always head to the kitchen to make more coffee or force myself into a brisk walk to run some errands.
I guess I feel a bit guilty taking a nap in the middle of the day — which is odd since I don’t feel guilty spending hours chatting with friends over coffee, wasting time reading gossip websites or even occasionally ducking out to buy a pair of shoes I don’t really need (but can somehow rationalize). And so I think I’m going to try to embrace my love of catnaps. Especially now, as things heat up and the sun beams ever so much more forcefully into my apartment. Curling up like a cat, warm and cozy, seems like the perfect way to pass an hour or two in the afternoon.