Sleep Is For Suckers?

men napping Schlafende_Japaner

When I was four years old, I saw napping as a sign of weakness.

I remember being in nursery school (which only lasted half day mind you), going from one activity to the next, and right when I was picking up steam, the teachers would announce it was time to take a nap.

“Why in the world would I need to nap?” I wondered confused and, to be honest, annoyed. This napping thing seemed like a racket for under-prepared or lazy adults. I was sleeping just a few hours ago so why would I need to go to sleep again already? “Adults clearly underestimate us and don’t plan enough activities,” I surmised. No matter how I pleaded my case to just let me quietly do my own thing, my teachers would insist that I too, must put my head down, close my eyes and lie still for what seemed like eternity.

My tune changed less than two years later. Confining myself to a classroom seat for more than 6 hours a day when all I really wanted to do was move around, was exhausting. I decided that I saw the logic of naps, though I rarely took one.

By middle school, the tide shifted again. Between the energy of living in an awkward, teenage body, the hormonal swings, and intense academic and extracurricular schedules, I spent parts of every morning and afternoon in a haze. The social strain of being around my peers and trying to feel normal (which was a lost cause by the way, since normal doesn’t exist), the academic demands, the juggling of rehearsals…sleep seemed to be the only thing that would help with all of it. Only by then I was too busy to nap. I had come full circle: believing that napping was not a sign of weakness, but rather one of the most valuable tools of the strong.

man napping on cot

So I napped in the car. And that practice pretty much carried me through my teens…until I was the one driving.

Today, I love the nap. I embrace it. It is a luxury that was wasted on my four-year-old self. Now I get it and want to spread the word.

Power naps are a staple in the performers’ diet. Funny though: I don’t see naps getting the same accolades and respect in other workplaces.

Why is that?

Powering down to power up is for anyone and everyone. Wear headphones, set an alarm, etc., whatever you need to do to make a nap happen for yourself. Maybe we can’t take a nap at the exact moment we want because we’re on a timeline, but building a recovery snooze into our day is a game changer.