Somehow, I’ve slept more and less in the last few years than any other time in my life. I’ve definitely slept more frequently because I’ve learned to appreciate day naps, outside naps, on-the-floor naps, post-burrito naps, and naps where the cat sat on me and never got up. But I’ve also never ignored the commonly accepted time to sleep as much as in the last 6-ish years. I’ve been nocturnal or just aggressively ignoring the normal window of sleepy time so much that it almost feels wrong to finally be participating in normal sleep times again. I love sleep more than any other act which requires me to lie down and not move for 4+ hours.
But that love was gone for a long time. In school, sleep felt like an obligation. I didn’t even own a pillow for 4 years because the investment didn’t seem worth it. I genuinely considered selling my bed at my old apartment because I rarely used it and could have just put down a sleeping bag whenever my body refused to be awake anymore.
But that time has–luckily–passed. Now, I am a sleep artisan. I have studied the secret arts and have mastered the most advanced sleeping techniques. Like a cat in any given situation, I have found what it takes to achieve supreme comfort and relaxation. This magnificent mastery of the high art of sleeping could not be illustrated better than by taking a nap before going to bed. And that’s what I did. Send a letter to me in 2014 because I’ve found something better than waking up at 2 am and going to Safeway.
The perfect nap is one that begins without rush or deliberation and ends without gradually and without consequence. The nap begins in the chest. You may notice you can’t quite hold yourself upright anymore, so you lie down with a pillow. You don’t stop what you were doing, but now you’re doing your taxes or playing your little farming simulator on while lying on your belly. The nap will slowly spread across your body. When it reaches the legs, it will expand, like water freezing. This expansion of the nap will force your legs to stretch. Perhaps your mouth will involuntarily squeak, but that is neither here nor there. It’s cute, but not essential, like fuzzy socks and haircuts for children. Next, the nap will spread slowly, tectonically to your upper body. You may find you can’t quite hold yourself up on your elbows anymore. Now you’re watching Netflix with your computer on its side so you don’t have to lift your neck. The nap seeps up your neck like water, saturating every part of you with the intimate immediacy of the imminent nap. Your eyelids may droop, your mouth may open, you might drool. None of it matters because the nap has you.
You’ll wake up an hour later thinking it’s two months since you’ve last seen the world. It’s important not to move suddenly though. The nap is still in your system. It needs time to works its way out of you. Napping is not a sudden process. We aren’t having any of that powernapping shit here. That’s the Crossfit of napping, and I want nothing to do with it.
Spend the next 5-10 minutes stretching, figuring out what time it is, and looking at whatever cat is closest. There should be a cat nearby, even if you didn’t have one when you fell asleep. Cats are drawn to good naps and will have evaluated your work already.
Stand when you’re ready. If you’re like me last night, you’ll manage to get a drink of water, tell your partner you’re going to be awake for a while now, and even sit up for a moment before collapsing back to sleep for another 10-ish hours.