Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Perfect Nap

We all know the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is necessary, not only for robust health and comely countenance, but for a pleasant mood as well. Most grouchy people don’t get enough sleep. But too few of us, I fear, just don’t appreciate the many salubrious effects of a nap. Too often considered a characteristic of sloth, the nap is unfairly burdened with comparisons to losers, bums, and those afflicted with a particularly unpleasant quality of apathetic inertia.
Au Contraire, I say! Done correctly, a nap is a beautiful thing - sort of a cosmic rebooting - that refreshes the outlook, invigorates the mind and uncorks a bit of extra energy to rejuvenate the remaining hours of the day. For those who perhaps look upon the nap as merely a symptom of laziness, let me offer some hopefully helpful guidelines, for I have been a champion of the nourishing effects of a nap for years.

1. Naps should be fairly short. Anything from twenty minutes to one hour is preferable. A shorter nap will make you disoriented, a longer one will make you sluggish.

2. Never take a nap in bed. One should only go to bed in the middle of the day when one has a bad cold, or the flu. Or a tummy ache. Taking a nap in bed is simply, “going back to bed” and that is only desirable on a stormy day when one feels rather blue, and only permissible before noon. Going back to bed in the afternoon is just not recommended, for even if you are not sick, you will feel as if you should be. It is, however, quite permissible to lie atop the bed, under a quilt or throw. Just do not get back in it. Look for a large chair that is capacious enough to curl up inside, or a chaise lounge with a perfectly placed neck pillow. These are better choices by far.

3. Pay close attention to the weather. This is very important. Do not even attempt a nap on a beautiful cloudless day in autumn. Your mother was right, you should be outside on a day like that. A stormy afternoon is ideal however, and a straight-down winter rain is sublime. If possible, nap with the windows open, and it goes without saying, if you have a ceiling fan, by all means turn it on. A soft breeze blowing, and you’re half way there. Also, listening to the faint outside sounds of nature only adds to the beauty of the nap. A chirp here, the sparkle of a wind-chime there, a blustery wind rustling the leaves in the trees? Perfect.
Of course, this will not work if you live in the city. Car horns and slamming doors do not a good nap make.

4. If you are fortunate enough to share your life with a large furry dog - or two - as I am, then you are incredibly well-suited for a successful nap experience. Large furry dogs love to nap. It is one of their favourite things and they are experts at it. They will study you closely to determine if you are comfortable then they will lie down next to you, sigh a heavy sigh of contentment and begin to doze. The ideal companionship. I am fairly certain smaller dogs and cats would behave the same way, so feel free to include them as well.

5. Some people like to listen to music when they nap, though personally I prefer the quiet natural sounds from outside. Music tends to keep me awake and effect my mood in various ways that are not condusive to the consummate nap. If this is not the case with you and you would prefer musical accompaniment, then I would suggest you chose your selections most carefully. Chopin over Springsteen, Debussy over Bjork.

6. Now this may be controversial, but I speak from experience. It is best to nap when your house is clean, there are fresh flowers in the vases and dinner is cooking. This is the ideal time. Otherwise, I fear one is prone to simply lie there and fret about what needs to be done and that is just no fun at all. It totally undermines the whole thing.

7. Do not worry that you might miss something. Nothing is so important that it cannot wait an hour. Trust me on this.

So fill your vases with flowers, find a big chair, and take a nap!!
You can thank me later.