Zen And The Art Of Napping

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Doug Demongey

Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor

Don’t you think a pleasurable way to pass time is by taking a nap on a cold, winter day? Or taking a nap on the beach in the summer? Or taking a nap after a delicious meal?

Naps are underrated in America. In other countries, especially those with warm afternoon climates like Naples, Italy, retail stores close from about 13:00 to 16:00. People go home, eat lunch, and take power naps. Siesta. Spend time with the family.

This wouldn’t be practical if you have a long daily commute. Several U.S. companies, Google and Nike, have created nap rooms for their employees. According to an employee benefits survey of 600 American companies conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 6% of workplaces had nap rooms in 2011, a slight increase from 5% the previous year. A 2011 poll of 1,508 adults by the National Sleep Foundation found that 34% of respondents say their employers allow them to nap at work, and 16% said their employers also have designated napping areas. How creative!

Naps can refuel the brain. According to Newsweek, a 2010 psychology study found that a nap may not merely restore brain power but also raise it. Students who took a 90-minute nap after learning the names of 120 unknown faces retained more names than their non-napping peers. (Study by Matthew Walker and colleagues at the University of California, Berkley.)

nap on the beach

Phone Book Delivery Epic Fail

I believe in the validity of this study because I learned something from my favorite nap. In June of 2009, I decided I needed to make money while seeking reemployment. I saw a newspaper ad to deliver phone books in the Downriver area. Since I grew up in Allen Park, I thought I could easily handle a route.

I couldn’t. But I’d already signed up for a route in Grosse Ile. My dad predicted I’d need help, and I quickly enlisted him as my trusty delivery partner. I think he agreed to do it because he was so relieved I hadn’t taken the first route I picked delivering phone books by myself. On Detroit’s east side. In January.

I loved my paper route when I was younger. Turns out, delivering phone books is a labor-intensive job nothing like delivering the weekly local paper out of a red wagon. If you don’t deliver your entire route, you don’t get paid. Not a dime. So I was motivated to complete my houses. I mean, I stood to make $119. Taking into account the two hours we bagged and loaded the books and the fourteen hours we spent delivering them, I’d make $7.44 an hour. If I split the earnings with my dad, I’d make $3.72 an hour. Considering I averaged $5 an hour with tips on my paper route in 1983, this was an unfortunate investment of time from a money management standpoint.

phone book delivery Downriver

Now, from a napping standpoint, my phone book delivery experiment was a huge success. I was able to spend over sixteen quality hours with my dad achieving a goal, even if he did occasionally complain I was a tough manager who didn’t include enough breaks in our brisk schedule for him to reapply his sunscreen.

At the end, we were thoroughly exhausted after walking around Grosse Ile for two days. This resulted in the most well deserved, refreshing nap of my life. We collapsed on the edge of a quiet soccer field, drinking 7-Up and eating Cheetos. There was a steady wind blowing. Don’t you think a pleasurable way to pass time is by taking a nap on an island in the breeze with your friend on a warm, summer day after making $119? I think we raised our brain power during our nap, adding just enough smarts to never deliver phone books again.

>> More Motor City Musing With Vicki Briganti  

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