Saturday, June 28, 2008


Is it just me, or was life a lot simpler when we were in Kindergarten? I know, we were, what? Five years old? How complicated could life possibly be at age five?

Years ago, I remember seeing posters in classrooms that I believe were, in turn, inspired by a book titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I never read the book, but the poster I can still see in my head. Simple pieces of common sense advice that have stuck with me to this day: share; don't hit; if you make a mess, clean it up; warm cookies and cold milk are good for you; and most importantly, take a nap every afternoon.

As a culture, I think Americans have a firm grasp Kung Fu death grip on the milk and cookies thing. But as a culture, we have lost touch with our daily naptimes. I remember learning in my Spanish class that the custom in Spain is to drop what you're doing at lunchtime and go home. You have a huge meal with your entire family, and then you have a nice siesta. After that, you continue your day's work into the evening. This makes the evening meal less important in the scheme of things, but hey, they got a nap.

So would this system be such a bad one for Americans to assimilate? We close down our businesses for about two hours while we break for lunch and a nap. Afterwards, we return to work well-rested and refreshed, prepared for the second half of our day.

I suppose this wouldn't work for us. Because Americans are always in a hurry. We hit the fast food drive-thru during our half-hour lunch breaks and pray that we don't get indigestion from eating to fast and stressing out over getting back to the office on time.

On the other side of this "naps are good" idea, there are the naps that just aren't. You know the ones I'm talking about. Those are the days when you actually get a moment to lie down to catch some of those elusive Zs. Before you know it, you've lost two hours of your afternoon and you feel worse than you did before you closed your eyes.

Those are the naps that allow us to become irresponsible. The sleep we get is too much. It wreaks havoc on our internal clock and then we suffer insomnia during the following night.

So ladies and gentlemen, I implore you, if you must nap, do so responsibly. Twenty to thirty minutes is just enough time for you to have a proper REM cycle. You'll wake up feeling like you've just had a good night's sleep.

Please be aware that I have no actual medical basis for my above claims. In fact, I only have a vague recollection of that Behavioral Science degree that I got in college, so the psychology of sleep is pretty much something you should look into for yourselves. But I'm just gonna keep napping the way I feel like napping whenever I get a chance. Get some sleep kids.

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