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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

COLUMN: The Nap

 


About three minutes ago I was abruptly woken up by a semi driving way too fast in a 25 mile per hour zone.

I'm writing this on May 15 which just so happens to be my birthday so I decided I would take a quick post lunch nap. Wednesday mornings are a little hectic and when I finished updating two websites and completing the calendars for the newspapers, I decided to reward myself.

While I certainly wasn't happy with the way the nap ended, I was however pleased it happened because it cut it to about 20 minutes which is the perfect length.

I've learned over the years there is a fine art to napping and one I still can't always perfect.

One of my first memories of napping was in Kindergarten in Casper, Wyoming and I always hated when they made us lay on our little mats and take a quick snooze. I doubt this is a common practice anymore, but I would never fall asleep and would usually get in trouble for some sort of mischief I caused when the rest of the class was sleeping. I saw no need for a nap. Even at the age of five, it seemed like a waste of time when I could be coloring or at recess.

As I grew older the nap started to become my friend. I can remember getting done with a day of school during junior high and high school and immediately going downstairs and laying in my bed. This was when I started to learn not only the importance of a nap, but to also not overdo it.

There were times that I would fall asleep around 3:30 and not wake up till 5 or 6 p.m. and when I did, I was an absolute monster. I probably just needed a half hour to rest from a day of dealing with the social nightmare of school but instead I would be asleep for hours. There would be a nice puddle of drool by my mouth I'd have the "nap" mark from my bedding on my arms or face. If someone would speak to me the first few minutes, I woke up I was an absolute nightmare and it would usually lead to an argument.

I had a pretty good sleeping schedule prior to graduating high school, but this all changed when I went to college. Instead of keeping a nice routine that may include a quick siesta in the afternoon, I took napping to a whole other level.

I would stay up till the wee hours of the night, somehow manage to get up for my classes at 8 a.m. and when I finished around noon or one, I would come back to my dorm room and sleep for three or four hours. I would be an absolute zombie for about an hour. I was just wasting time as I sat by my puddle of drool mad at the world. Then I would get up and do some studying or most likely misbehave and end up in bed again around 3 or 4 a.m.

I'm really glad I grew out of that phase. It messed up my entire clock and took years to recover from.

When I finally started to work at a newspaper, I had a much better schedule, but still had not perfected the art of napping.

I would get off work and often time go home and nap for an hour. This was a stupid idea and usually had me staying up way to late.

JACK H. SMITH

As I transitioned from my 20's to my 30's, I realized the best way to utilize a nap would be on a weekend. The joy of getting up early and then getting a good 30-minute nap on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is the absolute best. Are there times I might let this extend to an hour or two, sure, but it is nothing like my days in college.

Every once in a while, on a Wednesday afternoon when the office is quiet, I still like to rest my eyes for a few minutes. I've got a pretty busy schedule, so those 15 minutes really do the trick to keep me motivated.

The unfortunate part is that it often time goes way past 15 minutes. I hate alarms so never set them, but maybe I should. I can't always count on a semi driving way too fast, or then again, I probably can.

 

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