I Am a Napper, Hear Me Roar

Puppies, kittens, sleeping babies, flowers, beaches, mountains, forests, starry dusk skys, that blissful moment between other moments, the taste of fruit, a bee sucking nectar from a blossoming vine. When I’m tired I hate all of that. I see a puppy and I think potential diarrhea factory. Beach, bugs; Forest, ticks, starry dusk sky, time to crack that bedtime whip. There are no blissful moments between moments. It feels like everything is moving a little too fast and I’m just effing tired and slogging through it. Behaving relatively well for me, I mean, not taking it out too much on those around me, but definitely not feeling very thumbs up on anything, which has it’s impact even if I’m not being a total B. Plus it’s no fun.

So I went to the doctor. I said, “Doc, I’ve been tired for like, two months. What is going on?” And, because she is a really amazing doctor, she said, “You tell me.” So I gave her the whole list of theories and what’s been going on and various medical conditions I may or may not be suffering from in my opinion. And then she said, “What’s changed in the last couple of months?” And I realized that a couple of things have changed which are causing me to get – you guessed it – less sleep!!!

She said, “So the way you can tell if you’re getting enough sleep or not is if you wake up and feel rested and ready to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re waking up with an alarm or not, really, as long as you feel rested in the morning. Or are you like hitting the snooze button a few times and dragging yourself out of bed and then drinking three cups of coffee to just get started?” And I was like, “Yup, the latter.”

“What can you do to get more sleep at night?” I answered: Not much, I’m not willing to change anything there, though I may get one of those automatic cat doors so at least Cleo doesn’t come crying at night to be let in, and then out, and then in, and then out. Mike says we can get the door but she will still demand human service, from me.

Anyway, then she said, “Do you nap?” No, I don’t. “Here is how you nap,” she said. “You set your alarm for ten or twenty minutes, tops, so you don’t get into too deep a sleep. Then you put down your phone, put down your book, close your computer, and close your eyes. Don’t lie down – lean back in a chair or on a sofa with your feet up. Then stay there with your eyes closed until the alarm goes off.”

I had read about napping, about the benefits of napping, about how all these highly productive and amazing people take naps. I’ve never been one of those people. But I was desperate so I decided to give it a whirl. The first seven minutes or so, maybe longer, I spent in brain race, particularly thinking about how I should just get up, that I had other things to do, but then I’m pretty sure I drifted off to a dozing state. And I did wake up feeling better just like she said I would.

I tried it again the next day, yesterday. Instead of squeezing in another errand, I pulled my car up to the side of the road by the beach, rolled down the window, set my alarm for twelve minutes, put back the seat, put down my phone, kicked off my shoes, and closed my eyes until the alarm went off. It was great. I totally dozed. And last night I slept better all night than I have in months! I woke up this morning before the alarm went off and I feel way more alive than I have in weeks. I guess it’s the same for me as for babies, more sleep gets more sleep. Right on.

And I will get the blood work done that my doctor’s ordered for me, and maybe I will try to get a little more cardio, and maybe I’ll even get that cat door. But I’m pretty sure my thyroid is okay, and my iron level is okay, and I’m not going through the Change just yet, and there’s no sleep-sucking tumor anywhere. I think she diagnosed my sleepiness as stemming from needing more sleep, and the cure, amazingly enough, is freely available to me anytime. I used to be a perpetually tired, depleted person. But now I am a napper.