Is it ok to have nap time?

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As a mother of three young children, I am perpetually tired. I see other mums in the shopping mall who seem to have buckets of energy and look healthy but I have never been able to do that, until recently. Recently, I started to nap during the day and I found that it provided the perfect rest that I was missing out on. Have you tried napping?

The majority of you will say that yes, of course, you have tried napping. You sneak 20 minutes of sleep while the kids are playing and manage to wake up just before something is broken, a mother’s instinct. This is not the kind of nap I mean. That sort of nap just creates more stress and when you wake there are probably more things to clean up than when you nodded off. That sort of nap kills your productivity.

When I talk about a nap I mean quiet time for somewhere between one and three hours during the day for the whole family. This nap is a respected time in my house where everyone relaxes and either sleeps, reads, or watches something quietly. It is a rule.

I first started this nap idea when one of my children wasn’t sleeping well at night. She would come in and wake us every night and my sleep was broken. I took a nap during the next day and found I had great energy until around 11 pm that night. Usually, I was exhausted by 8 pm!

After a while, I started to make the naps a regular occurrence and my kids respected it. They knew that these few hours were my quiet time and they understood. More than that, they started to use it as their quiet time too. Now when nap time comes I usually snuggle up with all of my kids and we all nod off for an hour or two. Sleeping isn’t required but quiet time is. I can put a movie on in the background, or give some books out, or just snuggle with my youngest. A few hours later we are all reenergized. I have noticed my kids are less cranky too.

Looking at the science side of it sleeping in two portions is not a great idea. Experts in sleep say you don’t get the same benefits from a two-part sleep cycle as you do from a full seven-hour sleep cycle. If you have the choice between getting a full seven hours or a broken night’s sleep and a long nap, then there is no choice. Take the seven hours. However, many of us do not have this choice and if you are getting only five hours or less a night, take the nap that you need and deserve during the day.

You need to be careful to not make your kids too reliant on this nap. When school starts up they will get sleepy for the second half of the day and it won’t be great for school. However, it is excellent during the current coronavirus pandemic. I think that we are putting too much pressure on our kids and ourselves to perform in a certain way during this time. If a nap helps, take it.

With the current coronavirus quarantine, we are spending every day locked up in our house. It is a tough ask for our children. By splitting the day up with the name it has a natural four-part break. Morning, nap time, nap time to dinner, dinner to bedtime. I find that this has given the kids a better structure during the day. They usually have breakfast and a little playtime. Returning tired, they are happy to snuggle up for a little while. After that, they have a light lunch and are ready to play once again. By the time bedtime comes everyone has had a great day and is ready for bed.