Monday, July 16, 2007

Nap Time

If you and I happen to be in the middle of a conversation, and my eyelids start to lower and my head falls forward, don't take it personally. Check your watch. The big hand is likely on 12 and the little on 1, signaling time for my nap.

Daily 1 p.m. naps are a strict rule in the Soloway-Madison household. To assure that postal workers, UPS drivers, Watchtower evangelists, or other doorbell ringers heed our sacred hour, Tommy and I post a note on our mailbox pleading for silence. Our visitors likely pause as their fingers near our bell, read the well-worn sign, and believe their compliance protects a sleeping baby from stirring. Whatever.

Before you deride our daily habit, you should know that health experts praise nappers, and also that many famous people were fervent nappers. First, the benefits of napping: In a Feb. 13, 2007 article in The New York Times (my absolute favorite newspaper and source of all of my boorish conversation starters; i.e. "According to an article in today's New York Times…), "napping at least three times a week for a half-hour was associated with a significantly decreased risk of death from heart disease." Since most of the relatives cited in my memoir succumbed to this particular scourge, I'm up for any remedy that might stave off the family inheritance.

A website devoted to the subject (did you doubt it?), adds "nature intended that we take a nap in the middle of the day." Also, "an afternoon nap as short as ten minutes can enhance alertness, mood, and mental performance."

Second in my evidence are these famous nappers, whose accomplishments in life should further convince you of the practice's perks: Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, and several more from yet another website on the topic.

These noteworthy schlufflers likely have their own excuse for their siestas; mine is related to the hour in which I awake: 4 a.m. Please do not suggest I stay up past my usual bedtime (9 p.m.) to encourage later awakenings. Others have offered this and the result is by 10 p.m. I am wide-awake, then struggle to fall asleep, finally drop off at 1 a.m., and pop up at my traditional early hour. It's hopeless.

As for Tommy, I don't know his defense. He sleeps soundly from 10 p.m. to 5:45 a.m., returns for a morning nap from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m., and joins me in our joint 1 p.m. nap. Lest you think my spouse is aged or infirm, know that he is a vigorous guy who recently made the front page of the Lakeview YMCA newsletter.

And naturally Buddy, our 9-year-old Golden Retriever, accompanies Tommy and me for all bedtime snoozes. Flat-dogging* it on our bedroom floor, Buddy is happy to be part of our daily ritual. The only problem is that our dog's superlative hearing allows him to detect the footsteps of the postal worker, UPS driver, and evangelist. Duty calls, Buddy barks. Goodbye naptime. For me, of course. Nothing disturbs my Tommy.

*I have tried several times to take a photograph of Buddy in his flat-dog position. Have you ever successfully crept up on a sleeping canine and attempted a flash? Not possible; this one will have to do.

Yawn…. Honest it's not you. Time to…zzz, zzz, zzz.