On napping

There are times in one’s life when the only answer to any given set of problems is to just sleep on it, turn off all the gadgets, stop worrying about email, close the door, put up your feet, and close your eyes–even if it’s the middle of the day. Napping is nature’s way of taking you out of the equation for a little while so you can gain a bit of perspective on whatever is bothering you. In our rat race world, napping while the fires burn is not considered the adult answer to getting things done. I am of the opinion, however, that mental fatigue is one of our greatest enemies to clear thinking and coherent problem solving. When you are tired, nothing makes sense, everything lies in ruins, chaos swirls around you, your head hurts, and you feel like throwing the computer out the window. You couldn’t write a coherent readable sentence if your life depended on it. When you feel sleepy and fatigued, when your eyes are heavy and close on their own, when you cannot hold up your head anymore, give yourself a break. You are no good to either yourself or anyone around you. Anything you do in this condition will probably just be something that you have to redo tomorrow. Perhaps it is time for a nap. I’ve always been able to put my feet up, tilt my head back, close my eyes, and drift off–at a moments notice. Now I also know that many people hate napping because they feel infinitely worse after sleeping twenty minutes, but that strange feeling of lethargy and disorientation doesn’t hang on very long, and in a couple of minutes I’m up ant at ’em again, refreshed and ready to rejoin the fray. A twenty minute nap is balm for the parched soul. There is something about unchaining the mind for a moment, letting go, and descending into the maelstrom of the unconscious mind. The problem with fatigue is that no amount of coffee or other stimulant can re-order a disorderly and tired mind. The mind may be awake when pumped up on coffee, but that doesn’t mean the the higher functions of problem solving or creativity are functioning at all. You might be able to stay awake, but should you really be at the wheel of a huge vehicle hurtling down the road at seventy miles an hour? Taking a nap is like rebooting the computer when nothing will work. The major problem with napping is that it seems sloppy by modern office standards and practices. Any given business does not what their employees napping on the job–bad for productivity, you understand, or is it? The trouble with sleeping on the job is that it smacks of slacking, lolly-gagging, and goofing off unless it is done with a certain aplomb. One must be organized and not snore. Strategic napping is all about not letting anyone see you nap, get your nap in, wake up, and get your feet back under you before anyone notices you’ve been gone for a few minutes. No more than twenty minutes, no drooling, no snoring, no sleeping in public, no sleeping during meetings, lectures, or sermons. Twenty minutes of shut-eye can rejuvenate even the toughest day. A little cat nap can turn work into pleasure, give you that solution which has been eluding you for days, calm some shattered nerves, realign a warped perspective, brighten a dark countenance. In our work-a-day world, we never rest or sleep enough. In fact, one of the worst habits most of us have is to rob ourselves of necessary rest and sleep, and we do this every day. Well, the next time everything is a mess, and nothing seems to work, close your door, set the alarm on your phone, turn down the lights, put up your feet, and nap.