The Art of Napping


Melissa Stagnaro

This has just been one of those weeks for me. Monday was a bit of a nightmare between seeing Mr. Fong appear in Oxford and spending 4 hours of quality time in Hamilton for the NYRI meetings. And I had more of the same to look forward to between Tuesday’s school board meeting in Norwich and Wednesday’s public meeting in Guilford. I am living proof that a succession of late nights and early mornings don’t make a girl healthy, wealthy and wise. They make her sleep deprived.

When the opportunity presented itself yesterday to run home for a couple of hours before the Norwich City School board meeting, I jumped at it. The call of a warm throw and hypo-allergenic pillow was too strong to resist. I was definitely taking a nap.

When done properly, a nap can refresh the spirit as well as the mind and body. They are precious and the opportunity should be cherished whenever possible.

I had never before realized, however, that napping can be elusive to those who don’t practice the art often enough. I learned the hard way that it had been far, far too long since I’d practiced those skills.

After much contemplation (I had nothing better to do since I couldn’t nap successfully), I realized that my problem was I had gone about it all wrong.

Napping is something that we have a real knack for as a child. In fact, we protest greatly when this privilege is revoked.

I found naps invaluable in college as well, when I made a somewhat ill-advised decision to join the crew team. Practices were held at an un-godly hour of the morning and frequent cat naps were required to maintain my hectic academic and social schedule.

I’ve come to realize that the best naps are ones that just sort of happen, without a lot of forethought. And when they are, in fact, planned certain attention must be paid to staging the scene so that it still feels spontaneous.

Some practitioners of the art are quite satisfied to nap sitting in a chair, but I much prefer to be horizontal. The living room sofa, or my bed, suit my needs just fine. But don’t make the mistake of getting under the covers, no matter how inviting they might be.  It is a cozy blanket or throw that is required.

I find television a distraction in a good nap. So I usually choose a good book. Well, not too good, or that could conspire to defeat your efforts as well.

I usually have a cup of tea handy, which I never drink. It just feels right sitting nearby on a bedside or coffee table.

Company is sometimes needed to reap the full benefits of a nap. My cat usually jumps at the chance to curl up with me. Well, she does once she gets over her dismay at having to disturb her own nap to meet my needs. No cat? Substitute a dog, small child or hot water bottle.

A napping challenge for me has always been the pressure to wake up at a certain time. I tend to clock-watch obsessively. Where, oh where, are those wake-up fairies when you need one.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. All this talk of naps has put me rather in the mood for one.