Napping

Yes, I have thought about napping. Who hasn't. There are people who like to nap, people you can't nap, and people who HAVE to nap. I am the latter.

Throughout my life, I have needed to take short, restorative breaks or I get cranky, for lack of a better word. Call it introversion, I think that makes the most sense.

Introverts find interaction with others tiring. It doesn't mean it isn't fun. I like other people. I just need a break from them sometimes. This goes for everyone. Growing up, we were all like this. I thought it was normal for people to just sit or lay down and close their eyes for 5, 10, or more minutes right in the middle of everything. After a meal, when getting home from errands after everything is put away, before beginning the next round of chores, and so on. This never seemed like laziness to me since we were all industrious, busy people. We all thought of it as charging the batteries.

As I get older, feeling rested in the morning is a very, very rare experience for me. I need the nap to really reset my mental state. Even ten minutes of "closing my eyes" surrounded by hustle and bustle, noise, conversation, and activity I would like to part of can get me back to being a pleasant, cooperative, hard working person. Without it, I feel the pressure building to say something sarcastic or complain about what we are doing.

And I do nap when I am alone, too. It isn't just people that drive it. It's like decision fatigue or something sets in. I just need that break.

This is really hard to explain to people that don't get it. When I say I am going to "close my eyes", they roll their eyes. It seems odd if I don't go off by myself to rest but I explain that I like knowing I am still close to everyone and everything, I just need some time to relax. I guess this is why I can sleep so well on planes.

At one time, I thought meditation was enough, but it turns out that even the act of meditation is too much. While meditation is ultimately turning your brain off there is still an intention there to let thoughts in one door and out the other. You are still being aware, bringing your focus back to the breath, for example. Napping or "closing my eyes" is different. I still focus on my breath but as a means of dropping into the liminal state before sleep, not as a means of focusing for the purpose of meditation. I do find meditation restorative and necessary for good mental health but it doesn't take this need away. If I have time, I combine the two either starting with a few minutes of meditation, drifting into rest.

As a last thought, the idea of needing to close your eyes is really handled well in Better Call Saul. Kim Wexlar is a driven lawyer who works herself to the bone, constantly pulling all nighters. There are a few scenes where she closes her eyes and then she is suddenly, painfully awake. This also happens in a show call The Bear, I think (probably many others). The pressure to rest is so intense that simply closing your eyes is enough to drift into deep sleep, but the shock of waking is intense. When I get to that point, as I have through working too much or having severe insomnia many times in my life, I know something has to change. The best cure for that is a long, long sleep. Napping is not enough to get you through that kind of tired.

OK, that' s it: my thoughts about napping.