Nap Time

One day last week at about 2:30 or 3 p.m., I seemed to hit the wall. I began to yawn and my eyes grew heavy. So, to combat the fatigue, I went out to the coffee station, poured some cold coffee into my cup, zapped it to fiery heat in the microwave oven, and slugged down some liquid caffeine. After guzzling a bit of the coffee, the combination of the hot beverage and the caffeine hit me, and I was off and running again.

Still, I thought: Wouldn’t it be nicer to take a nap, like in kindergarten? At Rankin Elementary School in Akron, Ohio, every kindergartener brought a towel to school, and after an hour or so of coloring, Play-Doh eating, playing with Lincoln Logs or building blocks, and whatever else we were supposed to be doing in kindergarten, Mrs. Radick would tell us to take our our towels, find a place on the floor to roll them out, and then lie down and take a nap.

At first, of course, it was impossible to sleep. You’d lie there, feeling a bit silly, looking at the other kids in the class, and maybe making funny faces. Mrs. Radick would walk among us, shushing us gently, and eventually you would close your eyes and magically fall asleep, even though it was the middle of the day and you were in the middle of a bunch of kids. After a while — how long were those naps, anyway? — the teacher would wake us up and we would be ready once more to tackle the punishing kindergarten curriculum, clear-headed and refreshed.

Several years I attended a CLE session that included a presentation on minimizing stress at work, and the speaker urged everyone to schedule, and take, a 15 to 30-minute “power nap” every day. The lawyers in attendance chuckled at such an outlandish notion — imagine, lawyers napping at work! — but deep down I felt the distant pull of the kindergarten towel.

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