an ode to the mid-afternoon nap
The best part of working from home is napping, says Caro Cooper.
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The shift to working from home has stripped people of a lot. I read that in the newspaper. Some people miss their colleagues (I find that hard to believe), others miss the thrill of leaving the house each day (incomprehensible to me), and the really weird ones miss getting dressed (I have no words for them).
For all the strange things people miss in this new world, no one, not even a single suck-up middle manager, has come forth to say they miss being forced to stay awake at a desk all day. There are no articles waxing lyrical about the joy of fighting the 3pm slump with a piece of fruit (talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight). Nothing good comes from forcing people to remain alert from 9am, all the way around that big fat clock until 5pm. Wait, who am I kidding? It’s 6pm at the earliest.
In this new world, the ‘mid-afternoon slump’ – that beast we used to battle with a third latte, carrot sticks and 7-Eleven muffins – is dead. The grey shadow on every workday has been vanquished. Like most things, it wasn’t cured with expensive remedies (I see you, organic nut bars and turmeric lattes); it was cured by doing nothing. Literally nothing. The most nothing you can do: sleep, or rather, a bloody good mid-afternoon nap. It’s the very thing our bodies have been calling out for in the form of giant, unstoppable yawns in the middle of afternoon meetings.
In my past life, I was never a napper. As a highly anxious black-coffee fiend with poor time management and British guilt, naps were not OK to me. Even when faced with exhaustion, I’d keep going. Soldier on, chin up. Half-awake but upright. Unproductive but refusing to sleep. Even if I did finally succumb and attempted to nap – it wouldn’t come. If the sun was up, sleep was banished.
I’ve since changed. There’s a new me in town, and I like her. When my oxygen levels lower and the exhaustion of modern life catches up with me, I take to the couch. I’m even thinking of investing in a sumptuous modern couch and ditching this impractical but darling vintage Danish one.
I’ve gone from never-napper to happy-napper. With my dog at my feet (somewhat miffed at the sudden invasion of his couch space), I can drop off within minutes. Twenty minutes later, I awake, refreshed (OK, maybe momentarily sluggish) and ready to work.
For all the upsides of the nap – rejuvenation for the afternoon, the pure bliss of drifting off at an hour when you used to be staring catatonically at a computer – there are downsides, too. If you forget to set an alarm, you’re a little bit screwed. If you over-nap, you run the risk of grogginess upon waking. Flirting with deep sleep is a risky rookie move, but we’ve all done it. I’m even known to veer into being a little emotional on waking after over-napping. I will get better at it, though. After all, I’m still new to this art form.
The cons of napping don’t outweigh the pros, though. Napping is in our nature. It feels right and it’s not something we need to fight. The next time your eyes feel heavy and your Excel spreadsheet starts to blur, don’t reach for a sugar-free protein bar or whatever else you picked up from the health-food aisle in a misguided attempt to battle your chocolate cravings; just reach for the pillow. You don’t need to fight it anymore. You’re safe now. Come with me…
Thanks to the kind types at UNiDAYS, uni students can nab 25 per cent off their frankie subscriptions. Just click here, then register or log in using your UNiDAYS member details. Easy as!This snoozy story was originally published in issue 107.