Go ahead and take a nap on Thanksgiving. Sleep scientist Sara Alger says that naps have a stigma attached to them when you’re an adult—society says we should only take them if we’re sick or if we’re lazy. She adds that she’s all for naps, except for those who suffer with insomnia. But the idea that we should be constantly productive during what we now consider normal working hours is fairly new.
Anthropologist Matthew Wolf-Meyer says in the 1800s farmers and tradespeople could choose to rest in the hottest part of the day, and might do simple tasks during a wakeful period in the middle of the night, between two distinct bouts of sleep. Eventually staying asleep all night came to be seen as normal, and with that came society’s expectation that we should be highly productive during the day. Wolf-Meyer adds, “Even on a holiday, we’re not exempt from those expectations about productivism.
Even on Thanksgiving. You’re supposed to be doing something, even if it’s watching TV. Our labor on holidays is to interact with our relatives. So the nap is kind of a problem.” So give yourself permission to shake society’s expectations and enjoy a nice nap, or two, on Thanksgiving this year if you’re so inclined