NPF: NAPTIME

Posted in No Politics Friday on July 9th, 2010 by Ed

Two things happened today.

First, after hardly sleeping last night I was having a hard time writing at the office today. I gave up at about 4 PM and came home earlier than usual. It was exactly 100 degrees here today, with a heat index of 103. It was, in scientific terms, balls hot. When I got home I found my male rats completely inert. Rats are crepuscular and tend to be prodigious nappers during high afternoon heat. So today was exceptional only inasmuch as they were completely unresponsive. Like, I had to startle them awake to verify that they were not dead. Here is a reference photo of napping boys. Imagine how it would break your heart to disturb them.

The second incident occurred on an errand run to Target. The store, like many in this area, was in full-blown "Back to School" mode (in July?? Is this normal?). It was well organized, with a college section (dorm-in-a-box packages, Ramen, 55-gallon drums of Valtrex), generic K-12 school supplies, and a section for kindergarten/preschool needs. This final area had a large end display offering "Napping Mats." I assume the local school district(s) have these on the required supplies list.

These two disparate events got me thinking: Why are humans the only mammal, or close to it, that doesn't rest during the hottest part of the day? More importantly, how much better would life be if we didn't abandon the idea of afternoon naptime when kids leave kindergarten? Just imagine your crappy daily routine with the cubicle hours between 1:00 and 3:30 replaced by a nice, quiet nap? We could all roll out our Dora the Explorer nap mats and just…let nature take its course.

None of us sleep enough. Mammals are not active during the hottest part of the day. Naps are awesome. I just presented three unassailable facts in support national (global?) naptime. We nap until we're 6 and then we're expected to stop. Why? We don't become a different species when we enter 1st Grade. The only thing that changes are the expectations and the schedule to which we are forced to conform.

Nuts to that. I'm tired.