Naps

by justine

This week I was in Boston for work. I arrived late after a delayed plane, so I wasn’t eating dinner until 11pm EDT the first night. After a clunky and uncomfortable 5 hours of sleep, I was up at 6am, not so terrible, except that my body  felt more like 3am. Jet lag is a bitch.

But this isn’t a post about Boston. Instead, it’s about the 23 hours of sleep post-trip I needed to finally feel normal again.

Friday I flew back early – touched down in LA by noon PDT. Somewhere around 4pm I went down for my first nap. I slept 3 hours. It felt amazing. Afterwards, I was still able to sleep 8hrs, going to bed at 11pm.

Saturday morning was good, but I was back on the couch by 1pm and slept through 4pm. I was frantic with how tired my body felt and how much I thought I had to do. “Tell me I can sit here and doing nothing,” I asked H. “Relax,” he said. “Just sit and watch hockey”.

He made me leftovers for lunch. I ate on the couch. The dog cuddled with me. I didn’t watch hockey. I napped through the game and then some more.

Energized from sleeping, I rallied and went out to dinner with friends. By 9pm though, I was yawning and ready for my bed again. Asleep by 11pm, before H turned off the iPad, and slept a full 8hrs again.

This morning, with the sun streaming in, after odd dreams and my bladder feeling like it would burst, I woke up. “I think I finally got enough sleep” I told H. He laughed. Apparently he and my sister were calling me Miss-Sleeps-A-Lot.

But I wanted to write about this for a few reasons.

One: I never used to take naps. Take time out for rest when I have so much to do? Never. But H loves to nap. I used to be jealous, that he could “check-out” in that way, but now it’s the whole “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. Naps do something for my brain and body, like a quick reset button for my energy, a clean slate for my mind.

Two: I didn’t know how to nap, for me. Now, I set a timer for 30min, 1hr and 15min or go for a full 3hrs. If it’s a longer one, I prefer taking a quick shower afterwards. If I do this on a Friday night before we go out, I can stay out and up until 5am no problem. If I catch 45min and a shower before a work event, I can handle the noise / people / event chaos with more energy and less anxiety.

Three: I didn’t prioritize self-care until recently. Now, instead of feeling guilty, weak or stupid, I just nap – and I feel better. End of story. There’s no glory is powering through. This goes for skipping exercise (or not), for eating healthy (or not), and for sitting at the computer for another hour (or not). By listening to what my body really wants, I am able to satisfy my needs and move on. Less fighting, less frustrations and certainly, less tears.

So, I’ve been napping. And while I felt self-conscious about how much sleep I wanted the past few days, I knew that the less than 20hrs of sleep I got during my 4-night trip (I usually need 7.5 hrs per night to feel good) AND the overwhelming amount of people, meetings, and traveling I navigated warranted the need for more sleep than usual. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of – I worked my ass off last week and my body needed this rest to catch up. I’m almost certain I’ll sleep my average 7.5 hours tonight and wake up tomorrow back on track.

But even if I don’t, I can always squeeze in a nap.

How about you? Do you nap? What are your napping secrets? If you don’t nap, why? I would love to hear about your experiences. xo

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