Friday, January 25, 2008

Power-Napping is an Oxymoron

A few days ago, a dear friend sent me a video clip showing Bill Clinton nodding off during a Martin Luther King Day awards ceremony in New York. The accompanying article mentioned that Bill liked to grab a nap in the middle of the day because it invigorated him.

I couldn't watch the video. It seemed mean-spirited to eavesdrop as the poor, exhausted guy struggled against sleep, especially knowing that I've dozed off myself at some inauspicious times and places. But I did get to thinking about the whole concept of the "power nap," an idea so popular that it has its own entry in Wikipedia and over 179,000 Google references.

It struck me that there's something screwy in the idea that we can't let a nap be about sleeping--plain and simple--without the word "power" being attached to it. It seems emblematic of our Type A culture that even catching up on zzz's needs to be rationalized as a way to forge ahead. We can't just let ourselves rest, no matter how tired we feel. Instead, we find a way to turn rest into a tool for working even harder later on.

And so I'd like to propose that we embrace "unpower" napping--or napping that has no purpose whatsoever other than to let us snooze when tired so that we can live in harmony with our natural rhythms. In those countries that still have mid-day siestas, nobody bothers to worry about how much power the nap generates. Rather, the nap becomes part of a life lived with grace, balance, and self-love, a life where there's time for both work and true rest. That's what I wish for all of you.

Best Wishes,

1 comment:

Love said...

A nap sounds like a really good idea right now.

I just have so much to do.