Everyone’s relationship with sleep is complicated. Our sleep patterns reveal much more about our lives than most any other habits. How much we sleep, when we sleep, our ability to get to sleep, how we feel when we get too much or too little – it all affects our mental and physical health. Some of us have very complicated relationships with sleep. I’m one of those people.
There are the most common types of naps I frequently engage in between the hours of 11AM and 4PM.
- The Allergy Nap (aka The Benadryl Nap)
Lots of people have allergies. Not everyone has allergies like this girl. As a child, they did that scratch test thing on me to find out why my allergies and asthma were so bad. There wasn’t anything I DIDN’T react to.
I went through allergy shots where they would give me a painful shot in the arm once every 2 weeks for over 2 years. the spot on my arm would swell up to tennis ball size, and I had to wait an hour every time in case I had a reaction and suddenly keeled over. They never helped.
The carpet was removed from my room. Plastic covers on the pillows. Special air filters running 24 hours a day. Every medication you could think of. None of it did a lick of good.
As an adult, I still get very severe allergy reactions. My skin is very sensitive and almost anything will break me out into hives or just general blotchy-ness. My eyes will become itchy if I think about it too long. And worst of all, my head will fill with so much mucus that I cannot work or function as a person. This happens at least once a week.
I will lose entire days of work because of environmental allergies. And the only way to make it stop is an adult dose of Benadryl. I usually last about an hour once an attack hits, hoping it will pass. But eventually I must concede that either way I will be useless, so I might as well be unconscious.
(This can also happen with other various medications I have for anxiety. Same shit, different day.)
- The Brunch Nap (aka Day Drink Nap)
Day drinking is fun. Day drinking is the ultimate way to ensure that you will not do anything of use or substance for at least 30 hours.
There is a curious thing that happens when you drink a pint of sangria at 11AM. For a few hours, everything is fun in the sun. But by 3PM you are inexplicably lying on your couch falling asleep to a rewatch of The West Wing.
And then it’s dark out when you wake up. What time is it? 7PM? 2AM? You’re a little sweaty. And thirsty. So thirsty. You re-start your episode of The West Wing in hopes that it will lead you back to consciousnesses.
It’s 7PM. So now you won’t be able to get to sleep at a normal hour because your brain and body are confused as hell. And everyone you know is in the same situation. There’s no way you can do anything beyond watch more West Wing for the rest of the evening.
The day is dead. You killed it.
Is this relateable? I’m honestly asking.
- The Sad Nap (aka The Depression Nap or The Stress Nap)
I woke up early. I was ready for the day. But within an hour, I realised this was not going to be my day. Maybe I was already depressed and simply waking up was a bad idea. Maybe I got a shitty email out of nowhere that took a wrecking ball to my plans. Maybe someone expects me to leave the house or make a phone call. Whatever the reason, my brain needs to power down.
I don’t imagine that anything will be better when I wake up. But at least for a few hours, I won’t have to feel anything.
Sleep as a coping mechanism is not uncommon in illnesses like depression. And it’s super inconvenient.
- The Travel Nap (aka Jetlag Induced Sleep)
Blessed are we who experience the travel nap.
Few things can put me to sleep faster than being on an airplane if I’m remotely tired. Long car rides can have a similar effect. But the greatest travel nap is the one that comes after a long flight.
You make it to your destination during the day. You check in to your hotel. You have plans for dinner at 6PM, and it’s currently 2PM. Congratulations. The best nap awaits.
I always awake from those naps rested, and once I have food in me I am a complete and joyous human. Nothing feels as good as the first meal after your travel nap.
There are others as well. The rare Food Coma, for example. Or the coveted Post-Coital…
I think naps are like anything indulgent – there’s always a reason if you need one.