Are You a Catnapper?

 

No, Ricochet member @gldiii, I’m not talking about you. Even though you did try to hightail it out of my driveway with my beloved Psymon in your RV a couple of years ago, on your way to an air show somewhere points north and west of here. (My personal take on the matter has always been that Psymon heard us discussing the next leg of your journey, and thought that he’d like to learn to fly a plane. So I don’t blame you entirely for the (almost) jailbreak. Himself is pretty perseverant when he puts his mind to it.)**

I’m talking about the actual practice of taking a nap (sometimes referred to as a “catnap”) in the middle of the day.

I’ve never, ever, found such a thing relaxing or advantageous, although members of my family, including my late husband, my late mother, and my stepdaughter, would say otherwise.

Case in point:

Yesterday, somewhere mid-afternoon, I was tired.  I’ve recently resumed regular hostilities with my gym, and have just about implemented enough discipline that I go for my thrice-weekly half-mile swim every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I still haven’t worked my way back to where doing such a thing is a “doddle,” as the British say, and it still wears me out a bit. As does the 30 minutes on the rowing machine on the other days, or the 2-1/2-mile walk on the days when I can’t manage either of the above. I’m getting there slowly but surely.

Still, between the swim and the post-hole digging (part of my latest project to build a chicken coop for Chinggis and his soon-to-be-acquired girlfriends), yesterday afternoon I found myself a bit exhausted. So I sat down in my favorite “Queen’s Chair” (as a guest in the house once dubbed it), with a nice book, and dozed off. I suppose it was about 3 p.m. when my bum hit the seat cushion.

Next thing I knew, I was jolted awake by the weird little voice in the landline handset (which was on my dining-room table) squawking “LOW BATTERY” in an artificial voice. I checked the clock.

Oh, Lord, I thought. 5:12. Time to shove the phone onto the base station to shut it up, and get a couple hours more sleep. So I handled the phone and then staggered into the actual bed.

The next time I surfaced?

1:30.

Wut? Wow! I’ve slept through the entire morning, and into the early afternoon! Jump out of bed with concerns about putting the dogs out, checking on the lambs, and sticking the rooster in his run.

Then suddenly think to myself–“why is it still dark outside?”

That’s been my life for the entirety of it.

I never did get back to a restful sleep.

I really do think that humanity can be divided into two sorts: those for whom the occasional catnap in the middle of the day is helpful, and those for whom it introduces bemusement and befuddlement, and for whom it isn’t.

I know where I fall in the spectrum.

Where do you?

**Also, I’m relying on the fact that you’re a good sport, and won’t mind the shout-out, which I’m using as a segue–somewhat more graceful than those in the Ricochet Podcasts, I’ve been given to understand, as I’ve never actually listened to one.

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  1. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    I don’t make a habit out of napping, but if I feel I need one and can take it, I do.  Trials with it over the years show me that somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes are generally just right to get me through, unless I’ve been sick or have just been exhausted over the long term.  Thus, I set an alarm for myself or ask my wife to wake me at a certain time.

    Just yesterday I found myself in dire need and about 45 minutes of nap with no alarm seemed to do the job just fine to get me from 06:30 to around midnight.  I was able to wake up and get right back to my work and was far sharper than if I’d ignored the need.

    • #1
  2. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I take a nap every day and swear by it. Every day, right after lunch, from about 12:45 to 1:30. Perfect. Even if I only sleep for a few minutes or so, just getting the brain to reset  – a quick on/off is what keeps me going throughout the day.

    When we lived in Qatar, I would get home from work in the afternoon and turn on EWTN and watch a rerun of their daily mass. This was at a time when Fr. Angelus Shaughnessy was one of the regular priests. He was an exceptional homilist and one day preached on the beauty of taking a nap – I was hooked from that day on. I’ve searched and searched online for a replay of that homily but unfortunately can’t find it. But it was life changing. 

    • #2
  3. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    I just can’t take a nap during the day, no matter how tired I am. When I do it occasionally I wake up groggy and befuddled. And it always keeps me from getting to sleep easily at night. And I still need some Kirkland Sleep Aid and melatonin to get to sleep and stay asleep, even when I haven’t had a nap. 

    • #3
  4. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I can’t take a catnap. My dog won’t allow it. Dognaps, however, get a wagging tale.

    • #4
  5. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential
    @GLDIII

    My cat Tauriel shows me how to get thru the workday….

    • #5
  6. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Nearly a bit of a cat-astrophe there, then?

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    I’m most productive in the mornings and evenings. Afternoon napping makes that possible.

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    When I wake up from a nap at 5:00, I’m always confused by the fact that it’s light outside.

    • #8
  9. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Sleep deprivation has to be severe before I can nap. It just feels like a waste of time, although I understand that some find it makes them more productive.

    • #9
  10. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    My cat Tauriel shows me how to get thru the workday….

    Cats can definitely aid in nap discipline. 

     

    • #10
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    For meself I find naps to be mostly good, but sometimes befuddling. It depends when I start, generally. A nap that takes me into darkness tends to throw off my perception of time and delay later sleep. 

    Day naps, however, are awesome. 

    • #11
  12. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    The only times I’m likely to nap is when an RA flare is coning on or active (and the fatigue overpowers the pain), and then I just pass out. By that I mean I just fall asleep; I’m not trying to nap.

    Otherwise, I just can’t nap. 

    • #12
  13. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    I take a nap or two every day.  Took one this morning.  In my offices, even the one I share with two other Docs, I set my cell phone alarm for some interval–5, 7, 12 minutes, whatever I think will fit–lean back in the chair and bingo, I’m out.  Lights don’t matter, soft office noise doesn’t matter.  Nine times out of ten I awaken just before the alarm goes off. 

    This is a trick I learned from one of my mentors at Penn, it has served me well for 30 years.

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    jmelvin (View Comment):

    I don’t make a habit out of napping, but if I feel I need one and can take it, I do. Trials with it over the years show me that somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes are generally just right to get me through, unless I’ve been sick or have just been exhausted over the long term. Thus, I set an alarm for myself or ask my wife to wake me at a certain time.

    Just yesterday I found myself in dire need and about 45 minutes of nap with no alarm seemed to do the job just fine to get me from 06:30 to around midnight. I was able to wake up and get right back to my work and was far sharper than if I’d ignored the need.

    My stepdaughter is very much the same.  She occasionally takes a 45 minute nap in the middle of the day, and wakes as fresh as a daisy.  It’s baffling to me.

    • #14
  15. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    I am a big believer in short naps right after lunch. Old Man Skinner used to claim that ten minutes after lunch was worth an hour at night. When I was running a bulldozer for the old Man in the summer during college, I’d figure out how to get a ten-minute nap in during a 15-minute lunch break. One cool early summer day, I was building a small erosion control dam in a rough part of a pasture. I parked the old D-6 Cat under a tree, ate lunch, and put my feet up on the dash for a quick nap. When I woke up, I was eye to eye with an eight foot bull snake, dangling from a tree limb, probably enjoying the extra warmth from the diesel tractor. Scared me bad enough to undo the benefit of a dozen naps. Still like post-lunch naps, whenever I get the chance.

    • #15
  16. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    I just can’t take a nap during the day, no matter how tired I am. When I do it occasionally I wake up groggy and befuddled. And it always keeps me from getting to sleep easily at night. And I still need some Kirkland Sleep Aid and melatonin to get to sleep and stay asleep, even when I haven’t had a nap.

    This I can relate to!

    • #16
  17. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I nap several times a day – 10 to 25 minutes each. Naps are an absolutely essential part of my life – I can survive with just one, but three are optimal.

    • #17
  18. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I don’t nap. 

    And for those that do? What do Y’all do about “morning breath?” Do Y’all brush Y’alls’ teeth every time Y’all wake up?

    That’s the first thing I gotta do after sleeping.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    She: Are You a Catnapper?

    Never needed to steal them, they always come to me willingly.  Maybe because I put out milk and canned food, in addition to water and dry food.

    What?

    Oh.

    • #19
  20. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    When I am at home, I always take a nap. I set my alarm for 30 minutes, and that is just right. If I am at work (teaching school) I am so busy that I don’t feel the nap need. However, I’ve been known to put my head down on my desk after the little people leave, and nod off for 10-15 minutes. It is just right, too. NAPS: YES.   

    When I was a young mother and the kids all went down for nap, I did too!! And one of them would NOT go to sleep. So, I told her that she didn’t have to sleep. She just had to be in bed and be quiet so the rest of the naps could happen. Mom needed the 30 minutes. She’d read a book, and got along fine without the extra sleep…since she was two years old. Wow. 

    • #20
  21. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Lately, as in the past few years, I have been falling asleep for about 20 minutes around noon.  It’s not a normal sleep, it’s almost like a hypnotic spell.  I can usually induce it by playing sudoku puzzles, which are bound to knock me out.  Afterwards, I’m rejuvenated.  If I try to avoid it, I fail or I am just lethargic. It’s quite odd to me but appears to be the new norm.  

    After ten years of self-employment I’m about to start a new job.  I’m terrified that I will fall asleep at work.  That won’t go over well, I don’t think.

    • #21
  22. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    When I was a teen-ager, I was like you, She.  No naps. Just couldn’t do it.

    My freshman year in college included a case of mononucleosis.  I’ve been able to nap at the drop of a hat ever since. /:

    • #22
  23. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Skyler (View Comment):
    After ten years of self-employment I’m about to start a new job.  I’m terrified that I will fall asleep at work.  That won’t go over well, I don’t think.

    I left self-employ four years ago and have napped at all three of my jobs since.  Take a half hour for lunch, shut the door, feet up on a chair in the first two.

    • #23
  24. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I’ve been working on a night shift for almost a year now and my sleep is pretty inconsistent.  Some days I might sleep 7 hours.  Some days I don’t even get 5 hours when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep.  So I usually will take a nap for maybe 25-80 minutes just before going to work.

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    When I wake up from a nap at 5:00, I’m always confused by the fact that it’s light outside.

    You have no idea how often I wake up, look at the clock and have a moment of panic.  Is that AM or PM?  Am I supposed to be at work?  Then I realize, no, I’ve only been asleep two hours and if it were midnight the sun wouldn’t be shining.

     

    • #24
  25. Flagg Taylor Member
    Flagg Taylor
    @FlaggTaylor

    I highly recommend Joseph Epstein’s essay “The Art of the Nap.”

    • #25
  26. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I’ve been working on a night shift for almost a year now and my sleep is pretty inconsistent. Some days I might sleep 7 hours. Some days I don’t even get 5 hours when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. So I usually will take a nap for maybe 25-80 minutes just before going to work.

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    When I wake up from a nap at 5:00, I’m always confused by the fact that it’s light outside.

    You have no idea how often I wake up, look at the clock and have a moment of panic. Is that AM or PM? Am I supposed to be at work? Then I realize, no, I’ve only been asleep two hours and if it were midnight the sun wouldn’t be shining.

    Military clocks take some getting used to, but are clarifying.

    Added: You probably know this, but if not; your phone can be set to display a 24-hour clock.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    TBA (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I’ve been working on a night shift for almost a year now and my sleep is pretty inconsistent. Some days I might sleep 7 hours. Some days I don’t even get 5 hours when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. So I usually will take a nap for maybe 25-80 minutes just before going to work.

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    When I wake up from a nap at 5:00, I’m always confused by the fact that it’s light outside.

    You have no idea how often I wake up, look at the clock and have a moment of panic. Is that AM or PM? Am I supposed to be at work? Then I realize, no, I’ve only been asleep two hours and if it were midnight the sun wouldn’t be shining.

    Military clocks take some getting used to, but are clarifying.

    Added: You probably know this, but if not; your phone can be set to display a 24-hour clock.

    Except for the real old analog clocks, any kind of digital clock is probably going to have some kind of AM/PM indicator, even if it’s just a dot.

    • #27
  28. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    kedavis (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I’ve been working on a night shift for almost a year now and my sleep is pretty inconsistent. Some days I might sleep 7 hours. Some days I don’t even get 5 hours when I wake up and can’t get back to sleep. So I usually will take a nap for maybe 25-80 minutes just before going to work.

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    When I wake up from a nap at 5:00, I’m always confused by the fact that it’s light outside.

    You have no idea how often I wake up, look at the clock and have a moment of panic. Is that AM or PM? Am I supposed to be at work? Then I realize, no, I’ve only been asleep two hours and if it were midnight the sun wouldn’t be shining.

    Military clocks take some getting used to, but are clarifying.

    Added: You probably know this, but if not; your phone can be set to display a 24-hour clock.

    Except for the real old analog clocks, any kind of digital clock is probably going to have some kind of AM/PM indicator, even if it’s just a dot.

    Ah true. 

    I always lacked the presence of mind to check the dot before ramping up to OMG. Sad. 

    • #28
  29. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    TBA (View Comment):
    Added: You probably know this, but if not; your phone can be set to display a 24-hour clock.

    I’m going to go all old-fashioned on you and say that I just don’t like digital clocks, and I think that something of an understanding of the passage of time has been lost, now that we don’t see the fingers of the clock turning through the quarters, halves, three-quarters, etc.  Of course, I find the metric system lacking in much the same way….

    • #29
  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Skyler (View Comment):
    After ten years of self-employment I’m about to start a new job.  I’m terrified that I will fall asleep at work.  That won’t go over well, I don’t think.

    Good luck with the job.  I think the body’s pretty good at figuring out what’s expected of it, and will probably adjust. You may find yourself falling asleep at other, odd, times though.

    • #30