I go back to work in three weeks time and have started the difficult process of winding down afternoon naps.
Not the kids – me.
I bloody love an afternoon nap. I do it properly, too – none of this lying on the sofa in front of the TV nonsense. I draw the curtains, take off any clothes not conducive to sleeping and get right into bed. I have a little sign I pin up by the front door, warning delivery men not to disturb the sleeping baby. G Minor, of course, will sleep through the door bell – the note is purely to preserve my quiet time.
I am obviously grateful to my children, who obligingly sleep after lunch, allowing me to do the same. Nursery tried to drop G Major’s nap before I went on maternity leave and were met with a panicked demand to keep the sleep at all costs.
All the science is on my side. All other mammals take short sleeps during the day. When was the last time you saw your cat sitting bolt upright all day? Naps can:
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
- boost creativity at work
- improve working memory, as well as retention.
Big corporations, most famously Google, have dedicated areas for employees to catch 40 winks while at work.
But as I’m pretty sure my boss won’t countenance a duvet and pillow under my desk, a la George Castanza, I find myself in the awkward position of re-learning to stay awake after lunch and then feeling grumpy and tearful about half an hour before dinner, in the manner of a small child. I may need to block out an hour in my diary each afternoon as nap-withdrawal periods, to spare my colleagues.
In the meantime, I shall look forward to a summer holiday in Spain, where siestas will enable my napping.