COLUMN: The simplicity and power of naps

We are, more than ever before a sleep deprived society

Babies do it. Grannies and grampas do it. People in airports, on buses and trains do it.

Yes, I’m talking about the little power snooze, 40 winks curled up in a favourite armchair or a lovely bit of shut-eye in the sun stretched out in a lawn chair.

Why then does it seem such a luxury to take a simple, little nap?

My dad always said, “Naps are for babies and old people!”

Now that he’s well into his 80s, I wouldn’t dream of letting him know I’ve spied him lately ‘nodding off’ in his recliner of an afternoon.

Don’t worry dad, your secret is safe with me.

When exactly, did naps get such a bad reputation?

In my childhood, it was pretty common for our neighbourhood bunch to be ushered outside any given Sunday afternoon by the presiding mother.

I always found it unusual that my friends’ fathers would stretch out on the sofa after a big Sunday lunch and we’d be told to ‘play quietly’ outside.

Apparently, fathers needed to catch up on their sleep before embarking on another gruelling work week. (My dad was out in the garden, catching up on the weeding.)

Not to begrudge a hard-working fellow (or gal) a power nap, maybe there really was something to the Sunday snooze.

We are, more than ever before a sleep deprived society.

Shifts in work style and technological advances allowing business to occur any time day or night have created great societal pressure and expectations beyond the traditional Monday to Friday work week.

Our current generation of young parents often work several jobs in order to provide what we, their parents could provide, often on one salary.

Times have changed.

Thing is, maybe a nap is just what we all need.

A short reprieve in a busy day to close our eyes and let the day settle a bit.

Perhaps we need to be a bit more firm with ourselves and include a nap as part of our health care routine – even plan one.

If you like a good snooze, or if you have trouble getting a little nap in your busy day, check out these great titles at the library: The Sleep Solution by Chris Winter, The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington and for something different, remember “There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping…” the first page of the classic children’s story The Napping House by Audrey Wood.

Sue Kline is the Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and has recently rediscovered the magic of naps.

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