Respect the Nap

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Respect the Nap

When I was in grad school, I used to work very closely with a police chief in a local police department. Being that he was close to my age, we would often hang out after work and quickly became friends. He was like the older brother I never had. Now that my employment is over, I still go over for college football games, Easter, the Super Bowl, and his son’s birthday parties, but that’s a whole different story.

As kids, we all hated naps. It was used as a punishment; a threat if we misbehaved. The Chief pointed out to me that when he would punish his child by sending him to his room, he would go watch porn, drink, or take a nap himself. I couldn’t imagine being stretched that thin, but as he pointed out, “Life is a shit show.”

One of the life lessons he gave me was to respect the nap. I used to make fun of him all the time when he told me he had to take a nap before we could head downtown to whatever watering hole we decided on that day. You see, he lived vicariously through me and would always be up to party. I was newly single, and he was living the “married with kids and a 9-5 gig” life.

Chief quickly reminded me that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that soon, the nap would become a fixture in my life. I laughed it off and called him a geriatric, but man, was I wrong.

Humans have been napping for as long as we’ve been around. Chasing zebras was probably exhausting work, so what better to do after trekking miles to kill your dinner than to take a nap. In Spain and many Latin countries, they take siestas, where people close up shop and sleep through the shittiest part of the day. Sounds great to me.

There are many types of naps, but no one nap is better than the other. Some famous people like Napoleon, Benjamin Franklin and that Winston Churchill all subsisted on only napping, and they turned out great. Whether it is the 30 minute power nap, the “just gonna close my eyes for a minute” three-hour nap, the “fuck everything” nap, or the “I have so much to do” nap, a good nap can be just what you need.

The nap, unfortunately, does not come without consequences. After getting home from work, I love nothing more than taking off my khakis, popping on the couch with my dog, and lying there to collect my thoughts. Feels good, man. Fighting the urge to nap is an everyday battle. But, like my colleague who writes about her constant fatigue, there are just not enough hours in the day. If you nap everyday, getting to sleep is often harder, and you waste a lot of your free time snoozing.

However, there are times when a nap is just what the doctor ordered. In college, its predecessor was the drunk pass out. These were especially handy when ESPN doled out the dreaded 12 p.m. pillow fight tune up games (hopefully without Pam Ward as the commentator). I remember stumbling home to the fraternity house just as the 3:30 p.m. games came on, putting on whatever game was on at the time, and passing out. I’d usually wake up at the end and be recharged just in time to watch the primetime games. Then it was on to the pre-game where I’d be completely recharged.

Now, when I want to go out on Friday, I take my recharge nap, and I’m golden. Life can really wear you down. Weekends are not adequate enough to recharge the batteries while also having even the most remote amount of fun. It seems to be one or the other: relax all weekend but do nothing, or have a great weekend but arrive tired come Monday. When I take my pregame nap, I awaken with a new purpose, and that purpose is to party. Whether it be a get-together, a night out, or even a “start drinking and see where this goes” night, the nap is an incredible way to remain in best raging form.

As postgrads, we often watch the game in the privacy of our own home, calling over our friends for The Masters or having a blowout marathon for March Madness. Sometimes, after indulging in too much bourbon, the week catches up and calls for the beloved Golf Nap. This nap serves as a rally, like a General waving his exhausted troops to return to the field and fight. In college, if someone pulled this, they found themselves on TFM Fail Friday but these days, taking a nap during an event is accepted and even encouraged.

Regardless of your stance on napping, there is one thing that I must stress: respect the nap. I remember coming home from work and being exhausted. The Chief had the day off and asked if I wanted to go out. I responded, “Man, I’m beat,” and as I was writing “I think I’m going to take a nap, gimme an hour,” I realized that he was right. Nobody ever woke up from a nap and said, “I wish I didn’t take that nap.”

Image via Shutterstock

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