Thursday, August 19, 2010

My nap experience

On my sleep post the other day, I got a lot of wise advice from you all. Thanks for that ;) I got a LOT of "sleep when the baby sleeps" advice. But, I know I've mentioned this a few times before--I am NOT a napper. I have napping issues. Like, majorly.

The last time I can really remember napping was back in college. I was so elated to have *free time* in the middle of the day and ::gasp::....NAP! In my dorm! It was all so exciting.

Then, when I became a responsible adult, napping turned into a big issue for me.

I would lay down and think of 490384 other things I could and SHOULD be doing. Instead, I'd lay there and waste time thinking of things I should do...and never end up falling asleep anyway. So I just gave up.

Whenever people said to me pre-baby-my advice is: "Sleep when the baby sleeps", I nodded...and I understood (trust me, I GET it!)...but then I quickly said, "Yea, I'll try--but I'm a non-napper".

I got a lot of chuckles and, "oh trust me--you will become one".

As of yesterday, I had not napped one.single.time since Emeline was born. Not once. So that was over 3 months of being a mom with zero naps. Truly.

But, when we both got out of bed yesterday morning, I was exhausted. I think the exhaustion has just been stacking up. I thought to myself, "Maybe a nap IS in order today". I shocked myself with the thought, since that word is not in MY personal vocabulary.

With a nap in mind, I brought my pillow and blanket down to the living room. Emeline and I played for a little bit (since she is over the moon happy in the morning). I purposely avoided my coffee because I wanted to avoid the caffeine boost since I had a nap on my mind. Then finally, I started getting the tired signals from the little Miss that she was ready for #1 nap of the day. She quickly fell asleep, and so I cuddled up on the couch to see if I could follow her lead.

I was 99% sure it would be yet another failed attempt and it would not happen. After all, I'm a non-napper, remember?

But, to my surprise--

I fell asleep. QUICK.

Which goes to show just how gosh darn tired I was. I didn't even lay there and think about the fact there were dishes in the sink, or about all the dog toys strewn about the floor, or about prepping the food for friends I have coming over for dinner tonight. Nada.

I woke up two hours later. TWO hours!

I rubbed my eyes and looked around. My body was in full-on sleep mode. Honestly? It felt like I had just come off anesthesia. I had the feeling where my limbs were weak...and I felt like an immovable object. I saw Mac on the ground, passed out, too. He decided to join family nap time, he's no dummy. Then, I saw Emeline was still asleep in her swing and was just starting to wiggle and stir a bit. I looked at the clock was absolutely shocked to see it was almost lunchtime.

It reminded me instantly why I don't take naps.

Half my day was wasted. I didn't get anything done while she napped. I was still un-showered and in my pj's. My house was a mess.

And honestly? I still felt tired for the remainder of the day, and on top of that battled a lingering headache that I swear came from the whole nap experience.

So, while I'm not yet on the nap-train fully...I'm not willing to throw the whole idea back out the window completely.

So right now...naps and I....? We aren't quite friends.....yet. But, we aren't quite enemies either.

I'm hoping to tap you on nap advice to those pro-nappers out there.

Is there a certain 'length' of time you find napping to work best for you? Short little cat naps? 1 hour? Half hour? I'm curious. Maybe I slept for too long. I didn't set any alarm clock-so that was my fault.

Happy Thursday!


By the way, thanks for your input and sleep advice earlier this week. I checked with a pharmacist and was told that there are no sleep aids that are safe for nursing mothers. Also-I must not have made it clear that the sleeping problem isn't really just because of my daughter (she's not doing too bad for 3 months), but my own sleeping issues added on top of that. Thanks again.


  1. When I was in the first tri I HAD to sleep during my lunch break a little bit. For me, I found that 30 mins was enough to pep me up and get through the remainder of the work day. On the weekends I'm able to get an hour but then I feel sluggish for the day.

    Maybe try a 20-30 min nap. It doesn't seem like much but it really is. :)

  2. I once read that if you nap longer than an hour an a half that you are actually making yourself more tired! That never was the deal for me I love to take LONG naps!! However it might be better to take your nap later in the afternoon! I take my nap during Em's second nap:) I get a lot done during the first nap! And my husband gets a headache if he takes a nap!! So it is not in your head! Well technically it is:)

  3. When I nap for too long, I always end up feeling like someone drugged me when I wake up. I get headaches too, and have so much trouble getting myself going again! And weird, but I often wake up feeling nauseous, too. But if I take a short 15-20 minute nap, it often helps to re-energize me.

    I remember learning in psychology that if you're going to nap, anything longer than 20-30 minutes will just make you feel more tired. So we learned that 20 minute power naps were the best! I bet it's hard to time it though, being a new mom. I guess if you can try to remember to set a cell phone alarm or something for 20 minutes after you lie down? That would be my best suggestion for you :-)

  4. Yesterday, I was holding Lizzy while she slept. I fell asleep too. Half an hour or so later, I woke up and noticed that the top of her head was totally wet. It wasn't sweat, it was like a puddle of water. And then I realized that I must have been drooling on her head in my sleep. Awesome.

    Right now, Lizzy pretty much only naps if I'm holding her, so I don't feel as bad napping too--it isn't like I could get anything done anyway!

  5. I have never been a huge napper AT ALL. I always feel 1000 times worse when I wake up. I’ll be interested to see what kind of feedback you get!!!

  6. I'm like you, not a big napper at all. I've probably only taken two naps since Ellie's been born (she just turned one). I have survived on caffeine mostly :) That's probably why you had the headache too since you skipped your morning cup of joe.

    So sorry you're feeling run down! I promise it will eventually get better and your body will adjust!

  7. I definitely find that napping for longer than half an hour just makes me more tired for the rest of the day! A trick I've heard is to nap immediately following a small cup of coffee. Then the caffeine starts to kick in right about 20-30 mins later, and you wake up more naturally and with a little bit of energy.

  8. I can never nap when my son is napping because I'm the same way... I think of all the things I should be doing. And besides, just as I would be falling asleep, he would wake up, and then I would feel worse! They say though that often just a 15 minute nap is enough, and often better than a longer one!

  9. i miss college naps!!! they were the best...done with class for the day, snuggled under a blanket with the window open and the lights off...

  10. I am the world's best napper. :)

    You have to turn on some brainless tv (think the E! Network), find a great blankie and pillow, and listen to the brainlessness that is on your tv. But make it really quiet so you have to lie very still.

    Oh, and yes, set an alarm for about an hour.

    Then, you and naps will become BFF's.

    I promise.

  11. I'll admit, I'm an avid napper. I can easily take a nap a day, and since being prego, I can get away with it. So I do. But I find that if I sleep more than an hour and a half, I feel very sluggish the rest of the day. "they" say an hour and a half is a full sleep cycle, so I wouldn't recommend more than that. I hope you can find a happy-medium!

  12. I am addicted to naps. Seriously. I was prolly the kid that cried when I told I COULDN'T nap instead of crying because I didn't want one. I wouldn't be surviving right now if it wasn't naps, I'd be the walking dead. Although if you don't have the time (or don't want to be groggy) I wouldn't sleep for more than 20 mins.

    I've found that even just lying down for a few minutes and not sleeping is a huge help.

  13. i am a BIG napper. Now that Ava is no longer taking naps, i have to admit i struggle on Saturday's and Sundays without one! I recommed not napping until E's second nap of the day. And the comments you are getting are pretty spot on. Its recommend to sleep only for the first 20 minutes of your sleep cyle, OR sleep the entire 1 1/2 hours (when the 7 levels of your sleep cycle are completed) so that you don't feel sluggish. I have also found that 'white noise' (a FAN works best for me) helps to fall asleep! Good luck!

  14. I'm the exact same way. When I was told I HAD to nap, I almost rolled my eyes. I was so upset. Even though I'm tired enough to fall asleep like that, I, too, struggle waking up, and I feel so cranky because of that feeling that I'm coming off drugs, too. Plus, I get the headaches, too. I'm better than I used to be, because I have to be, but I'm still not a nap-lover.

  15. there is a works like a charm. (1) put kid(s) down for nap. (2) do 5 min clean sweep of kitchen/living area. (3) take 5 min shower. (4) sleep. :)

  16. I'm a terrible napper too. I have the SAME problem... all I do is lay there thinking about what I should be doing instead. Then I never fall asleep and wasted 2 hours just lying in bed. But lately, I've been so exhausted. So I decided to try it out. I was in and out (no thanks to some neighbors), but I still slept! Woohoo! And yeah, I woke up feeling like I'd been drugged. I'm going to try to take a shower and see if it helps wake me up.
    Good luck. Maybe we'll be converted at some point. :)

  17. I'm a nanny and when the girls go down for a nap, I try and close my eyes for a little "pick me up" nap which usually is only 20-30 min. long at the very most. Any more and I feel even more tired then I did before. I'd try setting an alarm to wake you up. I think after you get adapted to the naps you'll be alright :)

  18. i have three kids (3yr old 1yr old & 3 month old). i napped as often as i can when they were babies. someone once said that a messy house is a happy house just focus on your baby then house later. it worked. i usually take an hr nap - that gives me a boost of energy and enough time to get things done while the kids played and still napping. i was NOT a napper until i had my first. it's natural & the doctors says alot of sleep & drink lots of water helps with nursing (keeps the milk going) <- i didn't know that until i had my third - and we're doing very well this time around!

    good luck on napping :]

  19. I think naps any longer than one hour would make me too sleepy, like the long one you described here. I like to set an alarm for an hour and then make myself get up at that point. After a few times of that, your body should adjust to shorter sleep cycles during the day. Or I'm totally making that up! I dunno. :)

  20. I'm pretty sure you were talking about me in this post. ha. I seriously feel worse after I take a nap. I think I also know as soon as I do fall asleep my son (5 mo) will wake up and so I just lay there waiting for it to happen. I know you have probably heard this, but it does get better. As soon as she starts eating cereal (if you choose to do it) that should help. It did for us and it was AMAZING.

    As far as ways to make yourself relax to fall asleep, this is what I do. It is going to sound weird, but it seriously works: Relax your tongue (almost like you are pulling it back half way.. just don't let it touch the back of your front teeth) and take deep, slow breaths through your nose.

    Good luck Momma!

    Oh and I can't leave a comment without telling you that your daughter is absolutely precious.. not that you didn't know that already! :)

  21. There are times when I just fall asleep and wake up whenever I wake up, but I always feel drugged the rest of the day and almost ALWAYS get a headache to boot. (Sound familiar?)

    For me, I try to keep the actual sleeping part of the nap under 30 min. I've read that doctors say (not my own personal doctor as we haven't had a discussion on naps) that anything over 30 min and you risk getting into REM sleep, which is then rough to wake up from - drowsiness all day, headaches, etc. As a fellow insomniac, I usually set my alarm or buzzer for 40-45 min, thinking it'll take me at least 10-15 to get to sleep, and then I still get around 30 min of nap. (Not that I get naps regularly, but...)

    I hope you and Sir Nap can become better acquainted. Every little bit helps in that deficit. :)

  22. I could have written this post. lol. I'm a non-napper too, even after baby came.

    however, with this pregnancy, I suddenly learned the art of power nap. Sit on the couch. Doze off enough to enter a dream. Wake suddenly (not hard for me. I'm a light sleeper) Somehow, that refreshes me. Anything longer than 30 minutes, I have a horrid headache and feel sluggish.

  23. I adore naps, so I can't really relate to some of this, lol.

    However, it's possible that your body NEEDED that two hours (and more). It may take some time for your body to "catch up" on the past few months of missed sleep before you're able to take shorter naps (or any nap) without still feeling sluggish.

    Give yourself a break on the "nothing accomplished while I nap" mentality. First and foremost, you need rest or you'll eventually break down. Try to think of it this way.... your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you aren't able to get that during the night, it's ok to try to make some of that up during the day.

    I hope you start feeling better soon!!