Friday, November 13, 2015

Naptime




I saw a challenge today on Facebook that looked quite appealing to me. It was laid out like your typical workout routine with varying levels of repetitions that increase over time throughout the month-long challenge. The reason this challenge appealed to me is because it was a napping challenge. To give you a quick overview, it goes something like this:

Day 1: 5 minute nap
Day 2: 10 minute nap
Day 3: 15 minute nap
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: 20 minute nap
Day 6: 25 minute nap
Day 7: Recover

I think you get the idea. As a 40+ year old father of two, I can tell you that this looks like a fun challenge to take on. My not-quite-40 wife will probably laugh when she reads this (and more than likely throw something at me) because she is the one who could really use the napping time. I can't deny it. I can sleep through anything while she seems to hear everything while trying to sleep.

As a point of reference on my napping abilities, one of the best naps I ever had was in the Marine Corps waiting for my squad's turn to run through a live fire exercise. There were numerous riflemen laying down a line of fire, machine gunners adding to the mix, and even a Cobra gunship doing a pass or two over the live fire range. Yet there I was, snoozing away. Anyone who's ever spent time serving in an Infantry unit will tell you that you sleep when you can, but that's not really the point here.

I am curious why our sleeping patterns seem to change with age. I won't even get into the whole newborn/infant "sleep" schedule because I understand the constant need for feeding. (I too have been known to wake up in the middle of the night for a snack.) I am more interested in the age ranges over 4 years old.

As a kid, apparently around age four, we suddenly despise napping. The same seems to apply to sleeping in on a Saturday morning. What is it that makes a four year old want to be awake all the time? Is it a burning desire to learn things and/or not miss anything? Does it somehow make you feel older to not take a nap so you fight it with every fiber of your being? I really don't know why, but I wish I could go back in time and tell myself at four years old to take advantage of it while I could.

Once you get to the teen years, the napping gene seems to kick back into gear. I don't yet have a teenager of my own, but I do recall sleeping in on a Saturday morning...and needing multiple alarms to wake up on a school day. I actually know a person who (will remain nameless because I don't want to embarrass Rachel) actually once set an alarm for 12 Noon so she wouldn't sleep too long that day. Where have those days gone? I am fairly certain my little human alarms put an end to any possibility of that for me...at least for the next 10 years or so.

Now that I'm in my 40's, I really cherish the moments I get to take a good old fashioned nap. This is where I really have to give due credit to my wife. She often allows me to take an afternoon nap on the weekend. I don't know why since she's the one who actually deserves the nap, but I'm certainly not going to complain. She must really love me or something.

Now this is the part that really gets me confused. Something happens over the next 2-3 decades of our life that somehow puts an end to this love of napping again. Does it get boring? Do we not want to miss part of our day because we realize we're nearing the end of our life? I really want to know what makes us get back into the pattern of waking up at 4 am to start our day. I'm afraid the answer is probably more morbid than I choose to think about in my 40's, but time will tell.

Well, this post has really taken a lot out of me. If I hurry, I think I might be able to sneak a quick nap in before bedtime. If you haven't already fallen asleep reading this, go find a cozy spot to kick back and take a nap. Until next time....