Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Napping House

When I had my first baby, I heard the advice "sleep when the baby sleeps." That's good advice, although it's hard to follow when you really want to use those precious moments when you're not holding the baby to get a shower so you aren't still in your pajamas at dinnertime! And after the second baby comes along it's unusual for the kids sleep at the same time. On those rare days when the stars aligned so that the baby and the toddler were both asleep at the same time, I always dashed around like a madwoman trying to get the house picked up and dinner started. I felt guilty if I took a nap.

My husband's grandma had 10 kids. And helped her husband build a publishing house. Both large tasks. And she says she endured those busy years by taking a nap every day. I only have five kids, so I figure that if she managed a nap with 10 kids, I can justify a nap at least some days. And now I've found the science to back it up!

To spare you reading the whole article, here are the most useful tidbits.

1) if you're taking a 20-minute power nap, drink caffeine before you close your eyes. Apparently the caffeine takes 20 minutes to kick in, so it'll take effect right when you're getting up. The problem I see with this theory is that you'll have to guzzle your caffeine so that it's not taking effect right when you finish it. Maybe it's better to just put a pot of coffee on so it's ready when you're supposed to get up. Unless that's going to interfere with bedtime . . .

2) a nap longer than 45 minutes leads to grogginess. Now, I already knew from experience that long naps are bad news, but I didn't know there was an exact time when it switches from helpful to detrimental. The article does allow for naps of more than 90 minutes, though, so I guess it's just the 60-minute nap that makes you feel worse than when you started.

If I had it to do all over again, I'd take more naps when my children were young. A cheerful mom and wife is more valuable than a folded basket of laundry and a picked-up living room. Some of the tasks that seem so urgent really aren't important in the long run.

I hope you can take a nap sometime this week. I, for one, think Sunday afternoons are made for napping. Here's to sleeping like a baby!


  1. O.K., may I just say that "only" five kids just sounds strange to me? That just made me laugh!

    I was a napper, but only 10 minutes at a time. I guess you could call me a power napper. Now that I'm back at work, however, naps are dead to me. So sad.

  2. Compared to 10, 5 kids is not very impressive. Actually, to me 5 kids seems like a big family, but not enormous. Now 6, that just seems huge:) I guess it's all about your perspective.

  3. I used to feel the same way and sometimes still do w/ "guilt-napping"...but you are right if it prepares me for what is to come later in the day...do it! will need do soon, once Izzy is here full time.