I promise that until they’re contending for their next Cup, this will be my final word on the Blackhawks. I was intrigued, though, when one of the players said he had trouble sleeping during his nap prior to Game Six. Then a Tribune article confirmed that naps are as much a part of hockey as high-sticking.

The Hawks aren’t the only local sports heroes who have benefited from a little shut-eye. Papa Bear George Halas took a daily nap on a long sofa in his office. His younger coaches wondered how he could keep drawing up plays past midnight. George was in good company. Leonardo, Napoleon, Churchill, JFK and Eleanor Roosevelt all took daily naps. Let’s not forget Ronald Reagan.

There are whole countries that take naps, Spain and Italy, for example. Not to mention, entire continents, like South America. Siestas are enjoyed by everyone from Patagonia to Peru. The pace of modern civilization, though, is causing a decline in this practice. Commuters don’t have time to go home for a nap, while economic problems in Spain are forcing workers to forgo this restful ritual.

Look at what they’re missing. Naps are mini-vacations that sharpen our senses, keep us from getting burned out and make us more productive. They can literally save your life – not just in the case of drowsy drivers. Naps are such wonderful stress relievers; they reduce the risk of heart attack by 37 percent.

Naps are most popular with toddlers and oldsters but I understand they’re not for everybody. Some people don’t like that temporary grogginess they feel when they awake to the real world. Others suffer from insomnia – so no sleepy-time during the day. For most of us, though, I believe naps can be beneficial.

I used to steal a little slumber time at my office but, now that I work out of my house, it’s much easier to snooze. After a hearty lunch of leftovers, what could be better than propping up some pillows and closing my eyes to all my cares and responsibilities? They’ll still be there when I wake up but I’ll have renewed energy to tackle them.

I was talking to another Forest Park man about our shared affinity for naps. He didn’t want his name used, because his wife doesn’t know he likes to recline in the afternoon. Hey, just tell her you’re fighting heart disease.

Naps are an integral part of the workday in Japan. Employers encourage their employees to take catnaps in the afternoon. They’ve found that naps re-boot your brain and increase the worker’s learning power and productivity. American companies should smarten up and, I don’t know, make naps mandatory.

We already enforce nap-taking at the Kindergarten level. Why not encourage the practice with adults? A survey shows that 96 percent of us feel drowsy during the day. Wouldn’t it be nice – hold on – sorry, but I’m going to have finish this later.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.