Napping as a spiritual practice

Jonas Ellison
2 min readJan 14, 2021

I used to nap a lot.

When I was in my 20s, I’d open up at the golf shop (yes, I was a golf professional in a past life) at 6 am. Then I’d come home around 3:00 in the afternoon and crash — I mean, crash — for about 40 minutes.

When I got married, my naps went from regular to sporadic, at best. Then, when Rory was born, the napping stopped altogether. I could no longer justify it. In Rory’s younger days, my wife, Alex, and I would split the days between work and parental duties. There was no room for a nap.

I’m the lightest sleeper I know. It’s not good (thank God that my wife sleeps like a rock). I probably only average about 5–6 hours a night. Which is okay for a year or three. But Rory is 7. That’s 7 years of sleep deprivation.

Now, Rory is at the age where she can be more independent. So, this year, I decided to (with the encouragement of Alex who apparently wants me to live as long as possible) take my naps back.

Let me just tell you that it’s been delightful. I’m so appreciative of them.

Now, I don’t prescribe much on this blog. But if I had to spend one of my few annual prescription cards, it’d be this…

Take naps. Commit to them like your life depends on them. Not many mere mortals get that coveted 7–8 hours of sleep per night. We need. To nap.

Of course… If your life truly doesn’t permit it, fine. Granting yourself grace here is essential. If you get legalistic about this, it won’t last. They’re little gifts, these naps. Purely unearned.

But wow, do I already feel better (and we’re only 9 days into the new year).

A word of warning here… Yes, you’ll feel horrible about it at first. A hundred things will zoom through your mind that you think you’d rather be doing. We all have so much to do.

But sleep is SO important. Look it up on the internets. The science is astounding.

I’m seeing it as a spiritual practice. I’ve been combining centering prayer with napping. (I know that’s technically cheating. But I don’t really care. Pretty sure God is fine with it.) What I mean by this is, when I lay down and find myself caught up in my thoughts (which always happens), I do the whole centering prayer process of going to my ‘sacred word’ and surrendering into the silence, etc. Soon enough, I’m sawing big ole slobbery lawgs.

I’ve been taking my nap at around 3:00. I turn my phone to Do Not Disturb, set my timer for 40 minutes, and tell Rory that she can do whatever she wants (as long as it doesn’t involve fire or rusty sharp objects). Mostly, she just watches her favorite show of the moment while I snooze.

Naps… I’m telling ya. Treat yourself.

Grace + Godspeed,

This post was published first in The Jonasletter. To get my notes in your handy dandy email inbox as soon as they’re published, click here to subscribe.



Jonas Ellison

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