The Importance of Taking a Nap

Once upon a time, when I was young and foolish, I despised the very idea of taking a nap. How could one waste precious moments of daytime asleep, when one could be reading or walking or busy about some activity that the daylight hours favoured? Now I am older, and wiser at least in this. The siesta, the midday nap, is a great blessing. The drowsiness of a summer’s day can be given into without a single, Anglo-Saxon guilty pang. The chill of a wintery afternoon and its greyness can be forgotten as one loses oneself in a few minutes’ quiet slumber. For those of us whose energy levels have been sorely affected by age or illness, it is a great restorative. St Benedict assumes that his disciples will have a noonday rest (though he wisely allows us to read quietly during that period). What more can I say? Only this. One of my favourite quotations, trotted out whenever I have caught myself falling asleep over my prayer or some other religious duty: Ego dormio, sed cor meum vigilat. ‘I am sleeping, but my heart keeps vigil.’ Only sleep puts up no barriers to God. Perhaps we should all take a nap more often.

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6 thoughts on “The Importance of Taking a Nap”

  1. As I gently, and sometimes, not so gently age, all I can say is “Amen”.

    Some wiser younger people also take a ‘power nap’ during the day and find that it invigorates them. My cat constantly takes power naps, and after her breakfast, she naps while I say my Office, then goes upstairs for another one on our bed.

  2. I think I will add that line to my night time prayers, ‘‘I am sleeping, but may my heart keeps vigil.’ Thank you, what a lovely idea.

  3. I suspect that the idea of a power nap wasn’t thought off while I was younger and the Army teaches you to rest whenever the opportunity arises, albeit, not an excuse to drop off when on real duty such as guard or watch etc. When you are working continuously, 24 hour cycles for days or weeks at a time, sleep, suddenly becomes precious, and a priority.

    I can recall going for weeks at a time reliant on the power nap to keep me going and alert, and actually developing a discipline about it. So, now that I’m retired, I till take the occasional power nap during the day, between outings, study or other recreation -the habit of a working life, becomes a useful took in retirement, where alertness for long periods doesn’t seem important, but producing a piece of work for study does.

    I seem to be doing my life back to front. Work first, study later 🙂

  4. #quote v reassuring, yours however/ only sleep puts up no barriers to God/ just a #tad more reassuring, from the bottom of this #nodding & # v awake #heart Th.Y.

  5. One of my favourite preachers, the late Dr John Trapnell, used to say that sleep was a gift from God and always supported the comment by reference to the Psalms:
    Psalm 127:2 NIV
    [2] In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.

    Ironically John died in his sleep.

    Refreshing sleep is the best medication, I too love an afternoon nap. It sets me up for the rest of the day 🙂

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