The value of a nap?

April 7, 2008

by Jennifer Gallus

My dad has yet again e-mailed me a story that caught my attention. It was about a bear that jumped off of a bridge after being spooked by cars, but caught itself on a ledge below the bridge, pulled itself onto it, and with nothing else to do and nowhere to go, eventually fell asleep.

The story was accompanied by photos, but with Photoshop nowadays, I’m usually pretty skeptical.

However, these photos, to me, looked like the real deal and they added a lot to the story.

It was reported that the bear was shot with a tranquilizer after a net had been secured underneath it, and the bear subsequently fell into the net and was lowered to safety.

The bear woke up and went its merry way. Even if the story was made up, it’s a great one. The moral was that if you get in a pickle, take a nap, and things just may turn out OK.

There is a lot of truth in that. How many times has a day gone sour and you’ve been brewing about it all day until finally you go to bed, only to wake up and find that the edge has been taken off of what you had been angry or worried about?

Our hectic, scheduled days, however, do not allow for such conveniences as naps. Maybe that’s our problem.

People are getting crabbier, more stressed out, and developing more health problems than ever before.

Maybe naps could have healing effects both on our minds and bodies. We know babies and children benefit greatly from naps.

Maybe adults are internalizing that half-crazed behavior toddlers are famous for when they are nap deprived. We are groomed to control that behavior because it’s not socially acceptable, so as we grow, we suppress “acting out.”

Suppression leads to stress, and stress isn’t healthy. I think we should try to incorporate naps more into our lives. Instead of reaching for a pill to make you feel better, take a nap.


My 7-year-old mini-environmentalist was watching a show about how dead trees provide habitat for many animals. He then said, in a very serious tone, “That’s why dad shouldn’t cut down nature.”