I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.Yogi Berra
Nothing like a good Yogiism to start off a post. And while humorous because of what it says, there’s something to be said about a nice nap.
But how nice of a nap is the big question.
I’ve found, personally, that if you nap too long, it’s counterproductive. But, if you find that happy nap time, it works out well for you. In other words, find that time that recharges your body and mind. I also believe, however, that you need to do this as a recharge – not because you are exhausted. Once you get there, you are in a situation where you are just way too tired and probably need sleep.
Let me tell you a quick, but somewhat terrifying story.
I used to go home from work, sit on the recliner and snooze for 45 minutes or so. It was almost like clockwork. And that would allow me to kind of recharge for the night. The issue, though, wasn’t that I was taking a nap, rather it was that I needed sleep as I wasn’t getting enough at night.
As the spring arrived (this was two years ago), I was meeting a friend for a baseball game that night. We were going to hit up a minor league game, and then a couple of major league games for a weekend of baseball.
That all almost didn’t happen.
Because I was not getting enough sleep at night (fully my fault), my body had somewhat got used to that after-work snooze. On that Friday, I took off right from work and headed toward Allentown, Pennsylvania.
I almost didn’t make it.
From the town where I work to Allentown isn’t a bad drive – a couple of hours or so. But to make the highways, there’s some weaving and winding back roads. Before reaching the highway, I started to get tired and drowsy. My best is we’ve all been in that situation where your eyes feel heavy from driving. Maybe it’s the scenery, or the day you had, or just because you are tired.
What followed was something I think many in these situations do – roll down the windows for fresh air; crank up the music, rub your eyes – and whatever else you can do. I was a couple of miles from a convenience store and I set it in my mind that I need to stop there and try and refresh.
My body didn’t want to cooperate.
What followed seemed to be in slow motion, but at the same time in warp speed. I often wonder if something found a way to jar me and bring me back to my senses. Maybe somebody was looking over me; maybe it wasn’t my time, I don’t know. All I do know is I got super lucky.
I must have dozed off. I came to as I had already crossed this back road and was through the lane and heading toward the shoulder. My senses jumped me back as I went toward a ditch, hit a bit of a pothole and started to head back into the lane where I should be. My car seemed to jump a bit hitting that “crater” and I weaved a bit, getting the car back under control. I drove probably another 500 yards with eyes wide open until I turned around to see where I had been and to make sure nothing came off my car.
Thankfully, nothing happened to me.
Thankfully, nothing happened to my car.
Most of all, thankfully nobody was in another vehicle coming at me when this happened.
I’ve driven this road hundreds of times. The spot where this happened is close to an intersection and not from from what I believe is a town-type shed, where there are plenty of work trucks.
This could have been a really bad situation.
Since that day, when I go past this spot I thank my lucky stars. I also notice all the vehicles I’ve passed in this spot since then – dump trucks, tractors, pickup trucks, regular cars etc. It’s really surreal to look back on.
I’m a lot smarter now when it comes to “car napping.” If I feel myself getting tired at all, I pull over. I’ll get out of the car and stretch. Smell the air. Walk around a little. I’ve even before found a safe place to park and grab a 10 minute nap to let my body recharge. If I have to stop every 10 minutes to recharge, I will.
My sleep schedule is a lot better than it used to me. Naps now are just that – naps. While they usually occur after work, they are not something my body relies on. I’ve gone without just as much as I do. But I am also cognizant to being tired or feeling drowsy and knowing my body needs a recharge and to be refreshed.
Naps can be a great thing and they have many benefits. Just make sure you are doing them where you are safe, and not in spots where it can be potentially dangerous.
This post is part of the 2020 20 Days of Chill Writing Challenge hosted by A ‘lil HooHaa. Please check out the link if you’d like to see others or join in. You don’t have to do every theme if you don’t want! And for those participating, take a moment and check out the other participants!
20 Days of Chill: 2020 Day 5