Quiet Desperation

Napping is a decision I don't have to sleep on

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted

This is a tribute to naps.

W. C. Fields said that the best cure for insomnia was to "get plenty of sleep." I have never had insomnia, but I know people who do, and it must be very depressing. Sleep is one of the best things there is, and it is free.

Naps are gifts to ourselves. I take at least one a day, and sometimes two.

When I take a nap, it is like having two days in one. If I take two naps, I will get up at 2 or 3 a.m. and start my day.

Napping is different than sleeping at night. It's more intense. The dreams are different.

I subscribe to NapDreams, and always ask for the same ones. Either UCLA is humiliating USC, or Grace Kelly and I are in a remake of "Rear Window."

I take my chances with late-night dreams, and usually wind up dreaming about someone I haven't seen in 25 years.

For some reason, I never dream about Jennifer or Smitty. Maybe because I don't have to?

But I do dream about my mother and father, especially my father, all the time. And they are very vivid and real.

How do little kids feel about naps these days? I can't remember how I felt. I might have balked. I don't balk now. Give me half an hour or an hour, and I wake up with clarity I didn't have before I fell asleep.

They always tell drunks in films to sleep it off. But if you're a drunk and you sleep it off, you might not be able to get to sleep again for days. Unless. Unless you get drunk again. And then the cycle begins. I don't recommend it.

Sleep deprivation is a serious thing. I have other things, but I don't have sleep deprivation. If I am feeling sleepy, I take a nap.

It helps to be retired. My "jobs" are to paint and to write, and I am always way ahead on my painting schedule, and way ahead on my column schedule.

I do yard work and grocery shopping, and that's about it. So if the arms of Morpheus are reaching for me, I fall into them. If flights of angels come to carry me to my rest, I gladly go with them.

My roommate appreciates my naps too. I think Smitty sleeps about 18 hours a day, and he is always happy when I join him. He is so quiet when he sleeps that I sometimes have to hold a mirror to his nose.

He never snores, but now and then he makes little sounds as if he just met Miss Dachshund October. Or for some reason he wags his tail, or he kicks his left hind leg.

I can nap on the bed, on the couch, on the floor, on the kitchen counter - it doesn't seem to matter. And I don't have a Sleep Number bed. I know I am lucky. I don't have a bad back. I have a good back.

I don't toss and turn. I wake up in the same position that I fell asleep in. Smitty moves around though. He'll start out near my legs, and winds up next to the pillow.

When I wake up in the morning, he wakes up, and comes nearer and puts his two front paws on my chest. You can't do any better than a dachshund.

"Researchers found that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death." I'm in.

And there is a name for the way I nap, nap, and sleep. It figures. I can't invent anything. It's called "polyphasic sleep," meaning that you sleep multiple times in a 24-hour period. That's Smitty. And that's me.

Sweet dreams.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.