My history with napping goes back to high school, almost 25 years ago. I remember begging my friends to sit at the tables with the carpeted benches so I could sleep while they ate lunch.
A HISTORY OF SLEEPINESS
In my first podcast episode I tell my funny story of sneaking away from a backyard wedding to sleep for an hour. The maid of honor helped me find a comfy couch in the groom's parents' basement and covered me with a throw blanket. I didn't do it because I wasn't having fun, but I was struck with an overwhelming need to sleep in that moment.
At family gatherings, I have been known to leave the room to nap on a family member's bed.
I take a nap every day when I'm able to. I could take more than one nap but I have things to do, and I admit I do worry what people will think. For years I've been explaining the pressure in my head that accompanies the sudden need to nap, and no one can relate, but thankfully no one makes me feel weird about it.
Beth and her naps. It's been a part of my life for so long that it started to feel normal.
SLEEPING WELL AND STILL TIRED
I sleep an average of 7.5 hours per night. I go to bed around the same time every night and I wake up around the same time every morning. I'm an insomnia coach and I practice what I preach. I've been in the sleep industry long enough to know what good sleep hygiene is, and it's become obvious that feeling tired all the time isn't a common symptom of healthy sleep habits.
I honestly can't remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed. Every morning I wake up feeling like I could go back to bed, but I push on because I have to. I can't sleep the days away. When a sudden need to sleep hits me and I'm not in a situation that will allow it, I fantasize about it. I look for hidden places in the room where a quick nap could go unnoticed. I look at soft places and locked doors and I picture the relief I would feel if I could just lie down and take the edge off with a few minutes of sleep.
When I described these symptoms to my family doctor this afternoon I felt relieved to hear her confirm what I was thinking, this isn't normal.
WHEN YOU REALIZE THERE'S A PROBLEM
The first thing I did was google my symptoms. I took an online test to see how sleepy I really am. The test is [ HERE ] and I scored very high. (My results were basically, Get help now!)
Next, I made an appointment with my family doctor to get a referral for a sleep specialist. When you speak to your doctor, don't just say, "I'm tired all the time." A lot of people are tired. Talk about how your symptoms are affecting your life negatively. Ask to be referred to a sleep clinic. Go in there with a list if you're afraid of forgetting the key points. This is YOUR health and only YOU know how you feel.
Listen, it's one thing to enjoy an afternoon nap when you need a little break, but it's another thing entirely to need a nap to function normally, and that's why I'm going to see a sleep specialist. Yep, the sleep coach is going to a sleep doctor. Admitting that out loud makes me feel a small pang of guilt and I feel like a hypocrite because I should know this already. How can I preach about good sleep habits when I'm napping on basement couches during perfectly fun wedding receptions!?
CAN YOU RELATE?
I know there's someone else out there who is wondering if his or her need to nap daily is healthy, and that's why I'm being honest with you. It's time for me to get this looked at, and if you can relate to this post at all, I encourage you to do the same.
Read about my overnight sleep clinic experience HERE.