dimanche 8 mai 2011
I am a champion napper.

I fully credit military school for honing my ability to sleep anytime, anywhere.

Seriously, I firmly believe there is nothing quite as effective as the military for teaching you how to sleep in absolutely any conditions.

In a muddy pit with rifle rounds going off nearby and got 30 minutes until the next exercise? Might as well nap a little bit.


At VMI, we didn't have regular beds, but rather wooden "racks" or frames that we would fold up every morning and put against the wall, then put down again at night. Our mattress or "hays" we would roll up and secure with straps so that they stayed rolled, then folded up our blankets on top of the rolled up hays, and put the pillows on top. Otherwise, there was pretty much zero room to move around when all the racks were down.

The first year, or Rat Year, you couldn't have your rack down (i.e. couldn't sleep) between 7 am and 11 pm.

However, as necessity breeds invention, I quickly found that I could sleep quite effectively on the floor under my desk so as not to be seen through the window in our door if an upperclassman walked by, otherwise I would get in trouble.

Teachers had full right to make any cadet, even upperclassmen, caught sleeping in class do push-ups. Several times as I was nodding off in class I heard a "Smith! I don't want to have to make a girl do push-ups!" which brought me quickly into full-alert. We were told to go stand in the back of the classroom if we were tired.

As a third classman (sophomore) one of the best things was being able to put your rack down after noon. So you could sleep if you didn't have any classes.

There were all sorts of terms for napping- "The Rack Monster got me." "I'm going to go put in a little hay time." "My rack is calling me." "Formation in my rack in 5 minutes, uniform pjs." etc.

I could nap even with announcements booming through barracks every ten minutes, upperclassmen yelling at some poor rat in the stairwell, you name it, I could sleep.


This ability is quite useful now. I can sleep on just about any surface. Seriously.

Hard beds, soft beds, water beds, mattress with a big sag in the middle, couches, tile floor, grass, sand, rocks, car, plane, train, back of a motorcycle, curled up under my desk, in the closet, sitting, you name it.

The only thing I probably couldn't sleep on is a bed of nails, but I could give it a shot.


Whenever we go to San Remo, Italy, Alain always complains about the beds- really old mattresses that have huge sags in the middle. Not me. I sleep like a rock.


I have been sick with a cold lately, so took the opportunity yesterday to get some major sleeping in. Woke up about 8:30, went to buy the groceries, put them away, ate some breakfast, had my morning nap from 11 till about 1 when Alain woke me up to ask if I wanted some lunch. Mumble no!
Had my early afternoon nap from that moment until about 2:30 when I rolled out of bed, ate a little something, got bored of watching Alain's Jean Claude Van Damme movie, took my late afternoon nap from 4 to 6, then we had our pizza and a movie night, and went to bed about 9. Excellent!


I have a great idea and would patent it if I could.


A machine that you hook up to electrodes on your brain, then when you sleep you could store "sleep credits". For example, if you slept for 10 hours, you could say you wanted to use 8 of those hours as rest for that night, and then keep the extra 2 hours as sleep credits for another time. You could save these sleep credits, and then when you are tired from traveling or because your new baby kept waking you up, then you would hook yourself back up to the machine, choose how many of your sleep credits you wanted to use, and ZAP! instant feeling as if you just got 8 hours of sleep for example.

I think it is a great idea.

Too bad I have absolutely no idea of how to implement it.

9 commentaires:

MilkJam a dit…

I've heard the same thing about being a nurse - my grandma was a nurse and the woman could nap/sleep ANYWHERE!

Dedene a dit…

I would give anything to be able to sleep like that. Enjoy it while you can, this blessing may not last through your later years.

Lo a dit…

Fantastic upbringing.....fabulous tale......wonderful blog.

But....Maybe I gotcha.....I learned to sleep standing up on a moving bus when I was in college only getting 2 or 3 hours sleep a night if that. I would lock my knees, lean against the side of the seat where I was standing and doze off for up to an hour till we arrived. Sometimes the bus would hit a big bump and my knees would unlock.....that did wake me.....ah, youth.

Sydneylk a dit…

I wish I could develop this talent. My inability to sleep unless the conditions are perfect gets in the way frequently. I didn't even sleep on the 8 hour red eye from Boston to C.D.G.

Samantha Vérant a dit…

I love napping. And I may take one now...on a bed, not a wooden rack!

Starman a dit…

I like that sleep machine idea! Although I used to be able to sleep like you, I can't remember the last time I've slept more than two hours in a row without some kind of medicinal help.

Starman a dit…

RYN: You can probably get a better deal in Marseille, but I didn't want to wait until I got to Europe. Oh, if you didn't already know, you must have either an unlocked phone to use them, or you can just buy a phone with the card already in.

manda a dit…

Thank you, Your writing has helped me,,
i like this blog,,
By Diet Solution Program

maddogdelta a dit…

Megan... I was trying to show my girlfriend a picture of the inside of a VMI room and found this blog entry... very nice!

Regarding the "bed of nails", if you visit the "I", the Physics department can set you up with one :)

R Hubbard
VMI '81
used to watch the "dick and rae" show and see Col Minnix lie down on the bed of nails :)

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