I love napping. Love it. I think it’s one of the most satisfying activities you can do during the day. It’s refreshing, it’s satisfying, it helps perk me up for the rest of the day. Whenever I feel sick, people tell me I should take a nap. When I’m upset, I’m told to take a nap. When I look exhausted at work, out with friends, around my parents — “Just take a nap.”
But I, like many (if not most) of you, am unable to take a nap most of the time. It’s not for lack of desire — I want to take one. I just can’t. Why? There are a few pretty frustrating reasons that I’m sure entirely too many people will relate to:
1. My mind won’t stop. I desperately needed a nap on Saturday after having a long, stressful day, but I was so anxious that I couldn’t stop thinking about everything that was going wrong in my life at the time, and everything I had messed up at recently.
2. My sleep schedule is terrible. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had horrible insomnia. This coupled with anxiety makes for a frequent lack of adequate sleep, which means that even if I do manage to pass out for a bit of a nap, I will then mess up my sleep cycle even more.
3. Fear of not waking up on time. Again with the anxiety, I know. But the thought of oversleeping and not doing anything the rest of the day kills me.
4. Physical pain. Having fibromyalgia is frustrating most of the time, but when I lie down, it can be unbearable. My hips ache, my skin feels horrible and I get extremely sore, so a nap often sounds like the opposite of what I want, even when I need to rest.
5. I’m a sleep sweater. Yeah, gross. It makes me super self-conscious so I just like to avoid it altogether if I’m going to actually be seeing anybody the rest of the day.
6. I’m also a sleep twitcher. So much so that I regularly wake myself up because I thrash and wind up hitting my head or arms on my dresser or the bars above my window (my room is very, very small).
7. Speaking of which, my room sucks. Well, it’s actually pretty lovely, it’s just…tiny. SO tiny. It’s 7 x 10 and I was dumb enough to get a queen size bed when I first moved here, so my room is basically a bed and 1.5′ of space on two sides of it, which are occupied by more stuff. For some reason, this makes it extra difficult to relax.
8. Sex. As in, I inexplicably think about it when I am trying to rest. No clue why, but horny imaginative thoughts are scattered amongst the others from my anxiety. This is not conducive to sleep, in case you didn’t guess already.
So, in the event you are like myself and Joanna, whose sleep commandments are extremely helpful tips on passing out, and you would like to learn to nap better, here are a few hints:
1. Enhance the mood. Even if your room is tiny and terrible, you can always add a relaxing candle or close the curtains so it at least feels a little more calming.
2. Set your phone to only ring for your alarm. This is necessary because you really shouldn’t sleep longer than 30 or so minutes or else you will wind up more tired, but it’s also just good to have no notifications going on while you’re trying to rest. No emails, no phone calls, no texts, no Instagram…nada. Just the eventual alarm.
3. Pee beforehand. Or am I the only person whose quickie dreams are invaded by the need to pee while I’m resting?
Got any other tips? We’d love to hear them! No, really, neither of us are ever well-rested so we would totally love to hear them.