Either way, I'm heading off to lie down, perchance to nap. I was on the fence about this idea, but then I serendipitously came across this article:
To be an enthusiastic napper in 21st-century North America is to be out of step with your time and place. In most of the industrialized world, a nap is seen as a sign of weakness, either physical or moral. The very young and the very old nap. Sick people nap.The article's author, one Kurt Kleiner, goes on to name the many important historical and literary personages (Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Edison, Samuel Pepys) who regularly indulged in naps. He also discusses the biological and cultural importance of sleeping in the afternoons.
Bums nap. Healthy, productive adults do not nap.
We are a culture that celebrates action, doing, achieving, an attitude that leads to a disdain for sleep in general. We stay up late and get up early. We pull all-nighters. We'll sleep when we're dead, and in the meantime there's always a Starbucks on the corner.
It's a misguided attitude. A good nap is one of life's great pleasures, and the ability to nap is the sign of a well-balanced life. When we nap we snatch back control of our day from a mechanized, clock-driven society. We set aside the urgency imposed on us by the external world and get in touch with an internal rhythm that is millions of years old.
A nap distils the sweetness of a whole night's sleep down to a few minutes. Ideally, it starts on a soft bed, in a dark room, with a warm blanket. At first your mind lingers on what you've done that day, and what you still need to do. Then your thoughts start to unravel a little, become less coherent, more dreamlike. You feel your breathing deepen, your body relax. You lose yourself; you're asleep. After a few minutes you gradually become aware again of the bed, the room. You open your eyes, gather your thoughts, throw off the blankets. You're a new person.
So it seems that this "nap" business is something of a tradition, and I am, if nothing else, a traditional kind of gal. Later, comrades.
[via Arts & Letters Daily]