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Nap Guilt

As someone who has lived with insomnia for quite some time, I'm intimately familiar with the frustration that is needing a nap. Now, this isn't an elective decision to rest, it's one of those things where your body tells you it cannot and will not push forward without taking some type of break to refuel.

Does your insomnia require that you take naps? Do those naps ever make you feel guilty?

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Living with insomnia requires that I nap in order to function

I've experienced an immense amount of nap guilt lately, constantly thinking about what I "should" be doing instead of laying under my covers, trying to fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon. This is amplified by a partner who works from home and clearly doesn't need to nap. I have trouble reminding myself that there is a real reason that I need a nap, it's not just something I do to treat myself or to relax, and I shouldn't feel bad about that - but honestly, I still struggle with it sometimes. How much more productive could I be during the day if I didn't need to take time out to nap? Or, if I wasn't daydreaming about napping when I was trying to get work done?

Recently I've been experiencing a more frequent need to nap during the day in order to compensate for the sleep I've missed the night(s) before. While getting ready for my nap and while attempting to fall asleep, I've been thinking a lot about my guilt. I work from home, just like my husband, and our nanny lives with us and takes care of our preschooler. When I slide into bed during the middle of the day, I think about how everyone else in the house is working or doing something, and I am just trying to give my body enough rest/food/hydration to function. My need for a nap is real, it's not elective, and often times it's the only thing that allows me to continue functioning throughout the remainder of the day.

If you experience nap guilt, you're not alone.

Here are 3 reminders that I repeat to myself when I get nap guilt:

  1. Insomnia is a medical condition. Just as you take Tylenol for a fever or Advil for sore muscles, part of the management of insomnia is sleeping during non traditional hours, and the sooner I remember this the sooner I try to release some of the guilt I'm feeling.
  2. Your body tells you what it needs. You're not la-de-dah taking a nap because its "self-care" - your body is actually signaling to you that without additional rest, it will strike, or other things will run off the rails in how your body functions on a daily basis.
  3. Those needs may change day to day, meaning sometimes you may require a nap every day of the week and other times you might be able to go a whole week without needing or taking a nap. Also, regardless of what you're doing, it's ok to stop and rest.

If you've experienced nap guilt before, I'd be grateful to read how you cope with it or how you overcame it. Please share any suggestions you have below!

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