Power Napping For Energy

187649102This Spring/Summer has come on with a blast. We have been catapulted from the couch to the tennis courts, from the kitchen to the grill and from warm red wines to crispy whites. We are off stationary bikes and onto road bikes, kayaking against strong harbor currents vs. ramped up tension settings on our gym rowing machines. Our lettuce comes from our freshly raked garden instead of the plastic box.  And, it has taken just a few weekends to embrace outdoors life again in all its glory.

Friends show up for impromptu dinners, and group cooking winds it’s way into late night dinners. Weekend guests abound and our lives feel full again.

And all feels great until — slam, we realize that our schedules have out-stretched our energy and we desperately need to head for the couch. As we settle into the Sunday New York Times our lids go heavy – we find ourselves in a deep snore when curled up with a late afternoon book.

There’s no escaping it, we are desperate for a nap.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, “A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance.”

Up until (like last week), I’d never given myself permission to nap. I power through heavy lids until I am giddy with exhaustion or I can’t string a sentence together. Napping has always felt like an indulgence.

I just can’t imagine leaving a roomful of people to go to a quiet corner for a nap. It sounds like something “elderly” do. But, it turns out that not all nappers are over-age. In fact, there are some really famous nappers in the textbooks including: Winston Churchill, JKF, Ronald Regan, Einstein and Thomas Edison.

Aside from not wanting to join the rank of elder nappers, I have always perceived it as incredibly unproductive. Hey if I nap, then I won’t get the laundry done, or finish my photo albums or I won’t get in 20 minutes of afternoon writing, or return those calls I never seem to get to. Napping means giving up 20-30 minutes and “losing” a precious piece of the day.

But my body has been screaming for a nap lately. And last weekend I gave in. I joined my guests on the couch who were watching afternoon baseball and closed my eyes for 20 minutes. I awoke refreshed. The next day I put in a load of laundry and lay down with my book for 20 minutes between cycles and snoozed. Again, I felt rejuvenated. I was way more alert, way more productive an hour post-napping.

So this summer, I’ve decided to give myself permission to nap. I’m adjusting the way I think about naps –reframing my attitude. I’ve even crafted 6 napping visuals to encourage me to go for the 20-30 minutes time-out:

  1. A nap is like a meal – once I’ve fully digested its benefits – I will be able to draw on the energy I have fed myself.
  2. A nap is a rest for my eyes which unless closed are focused on fine print, computer screens, chasing balls and the eyes of those I am listening to.
  3. A nap is a reprieve for my muscles and joints that inevitably ache and need a break from the gluttony of excessive summer playtime activities.
  4. A nap is a rest for my busy mind, which attaches to every conversation and distraction like a dog chasing a ball.
  5. A nap is a moment of quiet which allows me to pause during the day – and breathe in the richness of my world.
  6. A nap is a way to harness the runaway advance of time – and take charge by saying “I’m in charge of the next 20 minutes.”

What about you — Are you a napper?





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Felice Shapiro

Felice Shapiro Felice Shapiro loves figuring out what's next. Felice writes with honesty and humor about real life events, romance, tragedy, reinvention and family not to mention — fashion, beauty & travel. As a serial entrepreneur in the publishing space, she launched Betterafter50.com to meet the needs of women entering their next phase at 50. Inspired and armed with her love of publishing, writing, start-ups and women’s issues, Shapiro launched an online magazine for 50-something women to share personal stories, successes and relevant issues. She is proud of BA50 which is in its 4th year and has over 7 million unique visitors. 

  4 comments for “Power Napping For Energy

  1. Carol A. Cassara
    June 3, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I’d nap more if I could be sure of getting up in the allotted time. If I stop to set an alarm then it becomes a production and I can’t get to sleep. I do agree about the benefits of a power nap.

  2. AftertheKidsLeave
    June 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Like Carol, I have trouble napping unless I can be sure that my nap won’t last much longer than about 20 minutes. If I go longer than that, I wake up unrefreshed, groggy, and grouchy…kind of the opposite of what’s intended.

  3. June 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I “power nap” all the time! 15-20 minutes is about all I can get since I’m home with kids full time, but it does wonders for banishing the Cranky Mommy feeling and getting me and my little guys to the end of the day in one piece. 🙂

  4. June 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I wish I could power nap. I hate napping because when I wake up I always feel worse than before I napped. The only way I can fall asleep quickly for a nap is if I really am not feeling well. If I am fine, I can’t take a power nap because it would take me an hour to fall asleep, if I even could.

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