In the midst of all this Rugby World Cup fervour I have rediscovered something great - something that has been missing from my life for the longest time - the power of a really good nap. Thanks to all this rugby and, especially, the rugby of England, Scotland, Argentina and Georgia, as well as a rash of deeply one-sided games, I have learnt, again, how to lie on the couch and snooze like a champ.

Do not misunderstand me, this is not to say I am in any way bored by RWC 2011. Far from it, I am loving RWC 2011 to bits, so much so that I am even prepared to assimilate chunks of it (usually involving Northern Hemisphere teams) subliminally, in my sleep, as I doze on the couch in front of the television.

There are those, I'm sure, who regard napping as a sin. Napping is, to them, the domain of the infant and the elderly, while all of us in the vast ages in-between should be out jogging or doing something more productive than lying on our backs, snoring.

These people are, of course, completely wrong. Sure, napping isn't exactly on a par with getting up before dawn to do boot camp when it comes to working out, but as far as low-impact fitness regimes go, they don't come any lower. What napping lacks in terms of out-and-out cardio health, it more than compensates for in that while you're asleep you're also not eating potato chips while watching Argentina and Romania.


Of course, as with any fitness regime, there are hidden dangers in napping. If done incorrectly and the napping is attempted in the wrong body position, the chance of neck injury is huge. Well, not exactly "huge" and not exactly "injury" but you might wake up with a bit of a crick. Also, heavy cats might take the opportunity to sleep on top of you and your family might take photos of you with your mouth open, dribbling, which is a whole other kind of danger.

As for napping being an unproductive pastime, if employers are worried that, to untrained eyes, napping in the workplace looks a lot like a bunch of employees lying about doing nothing, this could not be further from the truth. What you are actually doing is pre-visualising all the work that will get done when the napping is over. In this way, most of the work is actually almost done even before any actual work begins on said work.

As an example of a workplace that could only be improved by the implementation of a naptime policy, you need only to look at Parliament. The phrase "sleep on it", as an adjunct to wise decision-making, is not accidental. Imagine how many stupid laws Parliament has passed "under urgency" that could have been avoided if they had instead had a Heads on Desks policy when things got too rowdy and common sense was flying out the window.

This is not to say that I'm of the opinion that Parliament should do an about-face and pass legislation to build into the working week some kind of state-sanctioned siesta. No, whether or not - and when - to nap is for the individual to decide, as optimum napping is something that happens spontaneously (like somewhere in the middle of Scotland 15, Georgia 6) and cannot be scheduled.

This is because napping is, when all is said and done, about the freedom of the spirit (and the body and the brain and many other parts of the body working in tandem) to say "no, no more, time for time out". Napping is, in many ways, the ultimate expression of the right of the individual to lie down, tune out and shut down until the kids wake you up.

And that's it, the low-down on lying down, the down-low on getting down and low. Napping is a proud New Zealand tradition. All those years ago, as our Ed trudged his way to the top of Everest, I'm sure he stopped for the occasional nap. Or if he didn't actually stop for a nap, I'm sure he thought about it and wanted to - such is the ingrained nature of napping in our national psyche.

So go to it, Aotearoa. All you need is a couch, and the will to give up on life for a few minutes. You don't even have to have the rugby match between two forward-dominated, licking-obsessed Northern Hemisphere rugby teams. That is entirely my own spin on the fine art of napping. No, all you truly need is the need to snooze.