Going for gold in my sleep

My dog Bailey, demonstrating an advanced napping position.

My dog Bailey, demonstrating an advanced napping position.

Today is National Napping Day, and to celebrate, here’s a column that ran in Refreshed Magazine in February 2014, and was adapted from a piece in my book, “What The Dog Said.” I would have posted this earlier today but I was, yes, napping.

I’ve never been known for my athletic abilities, but after watching the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, I went into training with the hope that my favorite sport would be added in time for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Known as extreme napping, this highly technical event mixes skill and determination to honor the competitor with the ability to sleep the longest and most soundly amidst the greatest number of distractions.

Alas, my pleas to the Olympic Committee have gone unanswered. I don’t know why. Extreme napping is as thrilling a sport as, say, golf. In fact, from 1912 to 1948, Olympics medals were awarded in the fields of architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. If you could watercolor your way to a gold medal, why not nap?

Think you’ve got what it takes to be an extreme napper? Then start training! Here are some things you’ll need to ensure success:

The right environment: Skiers can’t ski when the snow is slushy and ice dancers can’t dance when the ice is bumpy. Likewise, extreme nappers can’t nap when the couch is lumpy.

The best napping conditions include a dark, quiet room and a comfortable sofa or bed. But as we all know, during competition the fans are yelling, the sportscasters are commentating and the weather is not cooperating, so it’s important for an extreme napper to train in a variety of environments. That way, when the chips are down, she can keep her eyes closed and her breathing in check to take home the gold for her local Mommy and Me group.

To prepare, try napping during business meetings, in line at the grocery store, and while your seven-year-old is poking you in the head to tell you the cat has finished his spin cycle in the washing machine.

The right equipment: In order to block out distractions, an extreme napper should always have at her disposal a pair of earplugs and an eye mask. Practice using your earplugs in a variety of situations, like when your husband is trying to explain why People Magazine isn’t a legitimate grocery expense in the family budget.

An extreme napper also needs a warm blankie and a fluffy pillow. The more you practice, the more proficient you’ll become, so always carry your blankie and pillow with you in order to take advantage of every napping opportunity, like while waiting in line at the DMV or watching golf.

The right outfit: Olympic athletes have outfits designed not just for function but for fashion, reflecting both the spirit of the sport and the personality of the competitor.

While ice skaters have taken costumes into the realm of couture, your napping outfit should be designed for comfort first and ideally include a t-shirt, pants with an elastic waistband and a pair of warm slippers. But if you need sequins or feathers to get into the napping mood, by all means, glitter away.

The right story: During Olympic coverage, the commentators share heart wrenching profiles of athletes who have overcome obstacles on their way to the podium, so it’s never too early to start building your back story.

Keep a journal chronicling the ups and downs of your extreme napping career; include entries like, “Dozed off while driving; ended up in Canada” and “Fell asleep in church; husband said snoring drowned out choir.” Be sure to include earlier competition failures, like, “Originally tried out for women’s curling team but didn’t know how to use a broom.” If you can connect with viewers on an emotional level, your face may end up on a cereal box even if you don’t take home a gold medal.

And remember, if you can also manage to also get your spouse and kids dressed in clean clothes and waving flags that aren’t made from items in your lingerie drawer, the TV network will be more likely to broadcast their smiling faces around the globe.

I’m admittedly disappointed that extreme napping didn’t make the cut for the 2014 Games, but maybe the sport can be adapted for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janero. If housework can be turned into an Olympic sport like curling, I figure nothing’s impossible.

You can read my monthly column in Refreshed Magazine.

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