Although I am obsessed with sleep and will go to all sorts of extreme measures to get eight hours a night, I am not a napper. My mom says even as a baby I didn’t like to nap and she never really forced the issue. I remember being wide-awake during nap time in kindergarten. I couldn’t turn off my brain and just fall asleep. I fidgeted around on the mat anxious to get up and start a new activity. I was so excited when I got to first grade and they didn’t make me pretend to be sleepy during scheduled nap times. I could power through all day never even considering a siesta.
I used to also hate rainy days. I found them to be depressing. I was not a person who worried about droughts and how much we needed rain. Selfish, I know. I just always loved sunny days and felt that I was more productive and certainly happier when the sun was shining.
As with many other aspects of my life, things have changed drastically since moving to an island. I don’t know if it’s the heat- my guess is that’s exactly what it is- but I find myself to be extremely lethargic on a regular basis. I also find myself succumbing to the lethargy and climbing right into my bed, covers pulled up, fans blaring at me in all directions, and going into a full-blown REM-style sleep.
In my new life I know nothing of “power naps”, because aren’t power naps 30 minutes or less? Many days, my naps last for hours. I feel really guilty about sleeping the afternoon away. I know I should be actively working my to do list and accomplishing important tasks. On the other hand, what is so important that it can’t wait a couple of hours?
Also I’ve learned that something about rainy days are good for the soul. On sunny days, there’s pressure to accomplish more… To get out and about and see people, to be active, run errands… But when the rain comes, I have learned to not only appreciate it but to embrace it with a feeling of joy and contentment, knowing that my naps will be even more peaceful and rejuvenating. I won’t wake up feeling like I missed out on anything and I certainly won’t wake up feeling guilty that I didn’t hit the beach or go for a jog.
On a rainy day, I wake up from my nap, stretch, look over at my sweet boys who are also peacefully napping, and appreciate the opportunity to relax a little more.
Maybe you don’t have the luxury of napping regularly. Maybe your naps are reserved for lazy Sunday afternoons. In any case, take the time to appreciate how important and how wonderful sleep is for our bodies and our minds. Rejoice in every minute that you can spend resting peacefully without the stress and hustle-bustle of life. It will be there when you wake up. And, for the most part, it can wait.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited to have mastered the art of turning off my mind temporarily and just chilling out. Okay, so maybe I am a napper after all. My kindergarten teacher would be proud.
Ashley Cates, St John USVI blogger.