In Praise of Naps

“Naps are nature's way of reminding you that life is nice, like a beautiful, softly swinging hammock strung between birth and infinity.” Peggy Noonan

Is there anything in life more precious than an afternoon nap? I’m not talking about the 10-minute power nap (at which I used to be pro), I’m talking about that luxurious hour when the world outside ceases to matter and life goes on just fine without us. The Spanish have always had the right idea; they’ve always known about the benefits of the siesta. They know that there isn’t much in our workaday world that is so important that it can’t wait an hour...

There is a certain kind of light that can make me instantly ready to take a nap. I haven’t encountered it often, and I’ve spent a lot of money in the past trying to create it. I’ve used all kinds of window treatments and wall colors, but I finally discovered that the secret is simple, diffused light. I prefer ivory pull-down shades drawn a little over halfway and white or off-white sheers, or lace. This light reminds me of taking naps at my grandmother’s house when I was child, lying on her white bed with eider pillows and a champagne-colored quilted satin comforter. When I do encounter this special light and can indulge in a nap, I never sleep more soundly and blissfully.

The only thing better than taking an afternoon nap is taking one with someone you love. Naps are intimate somehow, and make you feel close to that person, whether they’re a lover, a friend, or your child. I used to love napping with my boys when they were little. I must also add that napping with a pet is nice, too. Cats are especially conducive to a great nap because they somehow give you permission to sleep as guiltlessly as they do.

Indulge in a nap this afternoon, and not the kind on the couch with the TV on. Set the light in your room, get on your bed, and take a one-hour vacation from the world. It's healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Painting: La Siesta, by Frederick A. Bridgman