Nap Time

Blood-shot eyes felt as if they were covered with sand. Fussiness had replaced what only a few hours earlier before been jovial mood. There was a definite need to lie on the bed and drift off to dreamland.

No, it’s not a baby that needs a nap. It’s a man, a manly man, a dad, or a granddad. It is we who have the right claim to sleep in the afternoons. Those siestas shouldn’t be wasted on youth.

Babies are allowed to stay up for only a few hours at a time. Moms roust them from their cribs long enough to change dirty diapers and serve up bottles. They might even spend a few minutes in play time. Then it’s back to the bedrooms to place the little ones back to bed. On too many occasions, the little ones aren’t ready to return to sleepy land. They cry and scream and otherwise make life more unbearable for their moms. With just a little luck, the little guys might cry themselves to sleep. Too bad that within an hour or two they’ll be back up and the whole routine can begin again.

When I was in first grade, nap time was strictly enforced. What a shame! It was during those beginning years of school that all of us children were most excited about learning—reading about Dick and Jane, writing our letters and names, adding and subtracting our numbers. Mrs. Longmire was the teacher, and she strictly enforced the forty-five minutes that we lay upon our towels. No talking was allowed. Keeping six year old children still for that long is an impossibility. At least one kid usually needed to go to the restroom. Before nap time was complete, at least one of the crew had been jerked to his feet to receive a swat on the behind from the teacher. Kids spent the rest of the period barely breathing as they listened to the whimpering of the one who’d just “had a knot jerked in his tail.”

No, children shouldn’t be exiled to their beds for afternoon naps. They should be reserved for us men. We enjoy nothing better than a couple of hours of sleep. Heaven is stretching out on the couch on a weekend afternoon and letting sleep overtake us. The television blares some kind of ball game or race, and we fall into an unconscious state while maintaining a death-grip on the remote control. The sound might blare from the television, but the slightest noise from a spouse or child awakens us long enough to snap at people by yelling, “I’m trying to take a nap here!”

Naps don’t necessarily refresh men. Many times we wake up grumpy. Sometimes it’s because we’ve slept through the last-minute heroics of our favorite football team or the last lap maneuvering of a NASCAR race. Men sometimes awaken in rotten moods because the deep sleep they’ve enjoyed has ended in a throbbing headache. Maybe a list of “honey-do’s” is waiting to be completed after a nap, a fact that can destroy the very reasons for having gotten horizontal in the first place.

The older we get, the quicker we tire. Adults live much tougher lives than children. We’re the ones who need more rest; our bodies require more time to recuperate from the toil of work or strain of responsibilities. Naps should be included in the daily work schedule. Productivity could skyrocket if the work force was required to sleep for an hour at two o’clock in the afternoon. It’s for sure that few adults would fidget or complain about having to lie still for an hour. Naps are wasted on people under the age of thirty.