Home & Garden

The Art of the Southern Summer Nap

Five essential elements for the ultimate R&R

Photo: Ally Sloway

To me, the most luxurious, life-affirming naps are divided into two categories: indoor and outdoor. For indoor summer naps, my favorites are siesta-style snoozes on weekends, during the hottest part of the day. My five-year-old, because he’s wired like an elderly person, enjoys these as well. We call it quiet time. Europeans know all about quiet time. To survive a scorching day, they sleep during the three-hour span in which you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. 

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Smart Southerners do this as well. And at my house, these nap sessions typically start with the full Queen-of-England bed setup. This involves acres of pillows to facilitate reading a newspaper printed on real paper or a real book, screens off; a bed tray with some sort of iced beverage; and the AC turned down to sixty-seven—all capped off by a reading of Ferdinand the Bull to my son. This scenario typically ends with both of us drifting off for a few precious minutes, and then awaking ready to greet the remainder of the day with grace. 

The outdoors nap, on the other hand, requires an entirely different, but very strict protocol. Most crucially, it must take place in a hammock, positioned directly under a ceiling fan cranked up to high, and it must happen on a screened-in porch to keep the mosquitoes from disturbing the peace. If the porch is next to a body of water, all the better. This induces the sort of nap nirvana that results in a feeling akin to a rebirth. To elevate either take on the Southern nap, I’ve rounded up five must-have elements below.

Bed Tray

One of the most idyllic preludes to an afternoon nap involves a soothing libation and a good book, all tucked neatly on a tray like this one by Bayou Breeze. $230, wayfair.com 


If you’re going to go the authentic outdoor nap route, go the way of the original source for the best cotton-rope versions from Pawleys Island Hammocks. $240, pawleysislandhammocks.com

Weighted Mask

The folks at Slow North in Austin have perfected the idea of relaxation with this weighted mask that blocks out just enough light (and stress) to fall asleep. $44, slownorth.com

Carafe/Glass Combo

Inside or outside, hydration is key for inducing a soporific situation, and the candy-colored combinations of glass carafes and matching glasses by Maison Balzac are a beautiful way to serve up whatever you love most. $89, us.maisonbalzac.com

Magnesium Gel

Move over, CBD lotion. Magnesium gel, a thin, colorless, odorless tincture applied directly to the skin, is even more adept at easing tension and quieting aches and pains. This take on the idea, from Rowe Casa Organics, is easy to transport wherever you may find yourself napping. $25, rowecasaorganics.com