Naps are Nice

This afternoon I came home from a very good day at Trinity Lutheran Church and took a long, luxurious nap that was both needed and nice. I was tired in a good way; we had lively conversation in our book discussion group, wonderful worship followed by “Coffee and Conversation,” and then a visit to a dear lady in a nearby nursing home.

I can remember as a young child simply hating naps. Now as an adult I look at naps as a luxury and take every reasonable opportunity to catch a few extra minutes of sleep. Our culture moves so fast that we’ve lost the concept of an afternoon time of rest and rejuvenation. In fact, Americans as a whole do not get enough sleep and suffer from sleep deprivation.

Our bodies are geared for an afternoon nap. According to an article posted on, most people experience natural drowsiness about eight hours after waking. A nap can restore and rejuvenate a person, along with providing some much needed health benefits. The afternoon “siesta” is still the norm in many Latin American and a few European countries.

Maybe we’d all feel better and be more effective by allowing time for a daily power nap of 15 minutes to an hour in length. God commanded us to observe the Sabbath for our own benefit, but most of us fill those extra weekend hours with other activities. What if we took a “mini-Sabbath” every day in the form of a power nap and a prayer, some quiet time with a cup of tea, or 30 minutes of stretching, yoga, and/or meditation? I’d be willing to bet we’d see a drop in stress and a few more smiles.

As for me, I am thankful for today’s nap. Combined with spending time with God, the good folks at Trinity, and my family, it was a wonderful day and a fine start to another week.

How about you? When was the last time you took a nap?

Photo by In My Eyes Photo used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

Thankful to “Fall Back”

This is one of my favorite days of the year–that wonderful, amazing, spectacular Sunday when we all collect and extra hour of shut-eye. I know that may sound silly, but it feels like such a luxury to spend those extra 60 minutes in slumber. Even if I’m sort of awake or the dogs are whining to be fed, it still feels like I have somehow cheated time.

Let me explain. I am not a morning person to begin with, so bounding bright-eyed and bushy-tailed out of bed with the first crow of that annoying rooster down the street is not in my frame of reference. For me, morning usually involves stumbling out of bed and not feeling human until ingesting a large cup of coffee.

Sleep is something most of us fail to get enough of anyhow, and it is one of the most important things we can do to take good care of ourselves. Lack of sleep can wreak havoc with your health. According to researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center, chronic sleep loss can “reduce the capacity of even young adults to perform basic metabolic functions such as processing and storing carbohydrates or regulating hormone secretion” (The Lancet, October 23, 1999). In fact these effects are so significant that the researchers noted “changes that resembled the effects of advanced age or the early stages of diabetes–after less than one week.”

It’s a battle to get seven or eight hours of quality sleep each night, but now that I understand the sleep loss/health connection and have experienced its effects first hand through two graduate degrees and a bout with cancer, I really try to be a better steward of my body and mind. After all, each day–even each breath–is a gift of God. We must do our part to attend to and be grateful for the gift of life and health.

That’s why I am thankful to “fall back” one day each year and give thanks for the gift of sleep. Rest well, friends! Your health and maybe even your life depend on it!


Photo by Alan Cleaver used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!