When I was suffering from a severe chest cold last week, I told a couple of my work mates that I would give anything for a quick 40 winks. While one of them chuckled, the other was perplexed by the phrase. He of course was a wee lad of twenty something, and wasn't familiar with the term.
For instance, when staying over at my Grandparents house, I would often let my Grandfather know I was going to head out to the local 7-11 to get a Slurpee or a snack, and he would reply with "That's fine, I'm just going to sit here and get 40 winks". Those 40 winks would usually equate to a 40 minute or hour long nap. I'd laugh because inevitably, he would again state he needed 40 winks in the late afternoon, or before dinner.
My best friends Old Man would religiously take his "40 winks" after lunchtime. He would usually say something like "I just need 40 winks, and I'll be right as rain". We got a kick out of it, because his head would drop wherever he was sitting at the time, and he was down for the count for at least a half hour or so. Many an afternoon we would giggle upon watching my friends mom clear the lunch dishes, as he sat at the head of the table dead asleep and totally undisturbed. If he happened to make it to his easy chair, his 40 winks could easily stretch an hour to an hour and a half. And.. when he awakened, he would jump out of his chair refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Now that I'm in my 40s, I don't often need to grab 40 winks. The exceptions are when I'm feeling under the weather, or when I've had an incredibly busy and productive day. My sweet spot for taking my forty winks would probably be between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., and my 40 winks usually equate to about 15 minutes. It doesn't seem like it would be beneficial, but the times I do happen to take 40 winks, seem to give me a reset, and energizes me for the rest of the day.
Those 40 winks very well may stretch into the half hour to hour range as I get older, but that's fine. At the very least, it will give my kids some stories to tell someday.