Friday, May 16, 2008

How to Take a Nap

The art of nap-taking may seem self-evident. Let me shed some light. There are two kinds of naps. There are the kinds of naps we take because we have to. We're utterly sleep deprived, exhausted from our week, or our days, and very soon after half-laying down on the couch or bed, or plane seat, we uncontrollably doze off. I have had many such naps. They usually aren't so rewarding because they are squeezed into our busyness or they sneak upon us unexpectedly and set our minds in a foggy, groggy state upon awakening.

The other kind of nap is the kind you don't need. It's the more desirable of the two. It involves freedom to indulge or ignore. Here are some steps I have discovered regarding the ideal nap.

1. Get a good night's sleep. Don't be fooled. The last thing you want is to be dozing off in the middle of something important, like a prayer meeting, when you've had your eyes closed for 15 minutes and then suddenly come to consciousness and hope that the thing you just half-dreamt, half-thought wasn't said out loud. Be well-rested for your nap. Remember, a good nap is not a necessity, it is a luxury.

2. Use the lotion style of sunblock. SPF 30 at least, especially if you're not out in the sun a lot. Nothing ruins the reward of a great nap like a bad burn. The aerosol style sun block is far less effective. Plus it's more expensive.

3. Try to face the ocean directly. This gives you the best chance to get a lush, even roar in both ears. It's really cool when the waves are coming in slightly crooked. You hear them crash on the left and then slowly work their way in front of you, and then to the right. Over and over and over. Very soothing.

4. Try to sink your feet into the sand. This is kind of a bonus. It is optional, of course, but cool feet will ease you away while the sun beats down on you.

5. Eliminate potential distractions. Your kid isn't drowning. It's OK. Keep your eyes abstructed with a hat or something that keeps you from looking up at the slightest out-of-place noise.

6. Find a chair that can lean back, but not all the way flat. This is important. You need to rest your head back on something, but you don't want to lay all the way back or you miss the cool sea breeze.

7. Find a great book. The book shouldn't put you to sleep. Remember, the sleep is optional. Read a few chapters, close the book, doze. Awake, read a few more chapters, stand up, stretch, put your feet in the water if you want, come back, doze. Repeat as often as you'd like.

Hopefully you will find this brief tutorial helpful when you decide to seek a good nap.