As a child, I hated naps. I did everything possible to avoid them. As an adult, however…I want to cash in on all those that I rejected. There is a horrible misconception over my napping that some people (not nappers) seem to have. 

I don’t nap because I’m lazy.

I’ve had issues with sleep going back to my teens. Super Lonely Book Girl had a lot of anxiety issues, and sometimes they would show up at 2 in the morning, wanting to chat. They still like to come calling all these years later, reminding me exactly how powerless I am over my life. 

Later on, I learned that I have sleep maintenance insomnia. It means is I can fall asleep like nobody’s business, but staying like that is, pardon the pun, a nightmare. It’s even worse if I have to get up in the middle of the night to let the wonder twins out. I can’t fall back asleep, so I toss & turn like a washing machine agitator until I pass out from sheer exhaustion. 

Lack of quality, restorative sleep sets up a whole host of issues. When I’m tired, my defenses are down. I tend to agree to people/places/things out of character for me. I am not as conscious of my diet, and I start craving carbs like there’s no tomorrow. I am not nearly as present when I work out, either. The lack of focus equals the lack of results. When I’m teetering on the precipice of exhaustion, I am more accident prone as well. I broke my leg and wound up in a walking boot for 5 months that way. 

The modern American answer to my conundrum would be to employ pharmaceutical interventions. I tried them out of sheer desperation at one point. If I had ever tried acid, I imagine that it would be akin to the mini psychotic break I had on Ambien. I had also been prescribed klonopin by my doctor at one point, because I was dealing with so much stress and no sleep that I was beginning to lose my ability to function. It made me a zombie on a completely different level. I lost my ability to dream, and to me that was worse than no sleep.

Napping is my solution to insomnia. I nap because that 20 minutes or so of restorative sleep gives me the energy to power through whatever else is on my plate. I don’t nap every day, and my Sunday afternoon one is a luxurious must. For me, that brief interlude allows all the cellular repair processes to occur. 

It also fuels my creative process. Many times, I wake up from a nap and there are so many incredible ideas bouncing around in my head. I will jot them down in my journal, and sometimes they will get fleshed out. Other times, it’s the answer to questions I don’t even know I have. 

I’m generally a tightly wound ball of tension, anxiety and Type A personality traits.  I’ve learned that when I met my defenses down, there are negative outcomes. Relaxation really doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. When I’ve gotten too comfortable, it blows up spectacularly in my face. It’s happened over and over in my life, and as I’ve gotten older, I’m recognizing those patterns. 

I’ve been told by masseuses, chiropractors, yoga instructors and others that I am one of the most tense people they have ever encountered. I’ve worn that as a badge of pride for years. Yep, my shoulders are so tight you can bounce a quarter off them. I hold all my pain, sorrow and stress there. They are those icky feelings that I have no time for in my life.  

The only time I’m completely relaxed is when I’m asleep. I’m also completely vulnerable and I’m sure somewhere in my psyche, that’s evident. I can’t let my guard down, and I’m sure that’s the root cause. When you’re so used to not feeling safe, you develop all sorts of protection mechanisms. 

Insomonia is my monster. I feed it daily.

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