Snooze Alert (ms)

There is an art we are beginning to lose, I can sense it. There is so much to do and see on a given day, so many places we need to visit, so many things that need our attention. Why, given a little more time in our evolution and we might forget entirely how to take a nap. Imagine what a tragedy that would be. Not quite as notable as the extinction of the dinosaurs but considerable all the same.

I have never seen any definitive research on the matter but I imagine the art of napping began in the time of the cave dwellers. Back from a Brontosaurus hunt, having risked life and limb to dodge a Tyrannosaurus Rex and carry home his eighty pounds of Bronto Steaks, the cave dweller probably felt tired. We can assume he needed forty winks before dinner so that he might be his spry old self around the cooking fire. Thus was the beginning.

Over the ages the habit that began in a humble cave east of San Diego stayed with us. Again, there is no factual confirmation of this but there is a story that Michelangelo often took a wink or two while painting the Sistine Chapel. Also rumored, Christopher Columbus frequently drifted off while looking for land.

The Declaration of Independence, it has been said in some circles, was completed and signed after a brief respite from the cares of the day. None of these have ever been confirmed of course but it stands to reason these scenarios are entirely possible.

We have over the years developed into a species that does a lot less physical labor than our ancestors. I usually buy my Bronto Steaks in five pound packages and the last time I saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex was in a museum but no matter we still need to take a nap as often as we can.

See, we have been programmed to do so and to ignore the callings of our genes is to lead us down a path to ruin. You know, of course, that the middle of the night is the time of deepest sleep, the time when our Circadian Rhythms are at their lowest point. It stands to reason that the opposite time of day, from two until four in the afternoon, is a time of equal stillness even though society is gradually phasing it out of existence; much to our peril, I might add.

Putting aside an afternoon nap, a brief one, puts us at risk of being awfully bad dinner companions. I don’t think anyone wants to sit at the table with a grump who has not had his or her snooze, that shut eye needed to take the edge off the day. So this can lead to alienation, hostilities, changing neighborhoods and many other developments one shudders to even contemplate.

Of course there is no way of proving any of this is but I’ll tell you that this is the story I’m sticking to the next time my wife finds me settling in on the couch in mid-afternoon. Sure it sounds far-fetched but if you hear something often enough there’s got to be some truth to it.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on June 13, 2011.

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