As is the case with most kids, when I was younger, getting me to take a nap was borderline impossible.
I hated the idea of being forced to sit in my bedroom all alone in silence, especially in the middle of the day when I could be doing any number of things outside — but most likely being pried away from playing Nintendo.
While I certainly could have benefited from the sleep, nap time was probably for my own good in a different way: It gave my parents an hour of peace and helped them maintain their sanity. (I might have been slightly difficult at times.)
But as much as I despised having to take a nap 25-30 years ago, it has become my favorite part of the day as I approach my mid 30s — partially because it helps me maintain my own sanity.
In fact, I think nap time should become a mandatory part of the work day. When I lived in Spain for a month during the summer between my junior and senior years of college, I got to take part in the wonderful tradition known as the siesta. They work split shifts over there, working from 8 a.m.-noon and then going home to have lunch with their families — and then sleep off their huge meal — between noon-2 p.m. Then they go back to work from 2-6 p.m. Even the university where I was studying Spanish followed the same schedule.
The streets of the city where I lived were a virtual ghost town during siesta time. Part of the reason the siesta is necessary in Spain is that lunch is their biggest meal of the day. And when I say ‘biggest meal,’ I’m not joking. It’s a several-course smorgasbord that renders dinner all but completely unnecessary later in the day. It’s not a nap. It’s a food coma.
Imagine if we adopted mandatory nap time in the United States. Would we all be more productive at work? It might make that period of time between 2-5 p.m. drag on just a little less if we weren’t so tired.
Our work days here at the Transcript Bulletin don’t tend to be too strenuous, though there are times that they can be exhausting. On those days — and even the ones that are fairly low-key — a good hour-long nap sure hits the spot. And it’s not like I always plan it that way. The other day, I got home and cracked open a Pepsi — and still had the open can in my hand with an empty glass nearby when I woke up an hour later, with the microwave beeping in the background letting me know my long-forgotten snack was still inside.
Sometimes, that couch is just too comfortable, I suppose.
If we do choose to adopt the siesta as a part of our daily routine, I have one request: kindergarten rules.
Yes, that’s right. Give me my Goldfish crackers and one of those soft, cushy mats to keep under my desk.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s nap time.
Darren Vaughan is the sports editor for the Tooele Transcript Bulletin. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.