Tricia Hershey, founder of The Nap Ministry: naps help ‘people see themselves as divine’

One of my favorite things about being a kid besides being able to eat chocolate cake without gaining weight was naps. Somehow as we grow into adulthood we are taught that napping is a juvenile or geriatric activity. As adults I find admitting to napping in the middle of the day is the equivalent of saying, “I’m lazy and I don’t want to work.” In my experience talking about napping as an adult is met with a lot of shaming from others because supposedly I should be using that 20 minutes working harder and building my empire. But according to nap guru Tricia Hershey (I love that title), napping is a form of radical self care especially for black women. Tricia, who founded The Nap Ministry in 2016, believes that resting is a form of resistance.

Tricia is profiled in The Cut where she says napping and morning baths are a part of her self care rituals. She also says taking time to slow down and connect to yourself is the beginning of healing personal and ancestral wounds. One of the most informative things that she mentions is that black people get less REM sleep than everybody else because of trauma stemming from white supremacy. Below are a few excerpts from The Cut:

On her morning routine:
As I’ve been deeply involved in rest practice and practicing what I preach — I’ve been listening to my body. It depends on what I have on my calendar, what my son needs, how late I was up the night before. I go with the flow of my body. But I always drink a gallon of water a day. I have a huge water container by my bed that I fill up at night to really hydrate myself.

I love to take baths most mornings. It’s a ritual to get up and take a nice hot bath. Outside of The Nap Ministry, I would love to have a Bath Ministry. It’s a place of peace and silence to ground yourself. I love coffee. I’ll make tea, coffee, check in on my son, and make breakfast. I like to sit in silence. I’m big on daydreaming. When I talk about The Nap Ministry, it’s more than naps; it’s also a way of slowing down and reclaiming our time. Resting looks like daydreaming, silence, slowing down, and naps.

On the pandemic exposing people who can’t sit at home with their own thoughts:
If they decided to stop, it would be a deep place of healing to uncover individual and collective trauma. This selfish behavior to think I have to go out and get joy from externals is all part of the brainwashing this system has done to us. It has stolen imagination to dream and hope and not believe in slowing down to connect with our own selves. This pandemic is revealing and exposing people’s deep collective trauma under capitalism and white supremacy. We need to evolve ourselves to find joy.

On supporting exhausted Black women:
When I talk to Black people, it’s harder for them to sleep. Studies show there is sleep deprivation in the Black community because of white supremacy. Poverty, healthy disparities, just going to the doctor: All these burdens America has placed on us makes it hard to get a full REM cycle of sleep. It’s been hard to tell Black people that they have been socialized to believe you have to do more and work harder to equalize yourself. We’re brainwashed by parents and communities not to be lazy; you have to be better. It’s a disservice to paint it that way because it’s not true. It’s a lie. It adds to the sleep deprivation that is mental and psychological that we don’t deserve rest.

On healing:
The concept of rest imagines a new mental space. It’s rooted in liberation and justice. It’s more than a nap; it’s a pushback and disruption to help make people see themselves as divine human beings. It’s about community care: the idea of communal care, mutual aid, and interconnection with each other. We offer care to people who live in a place that doesn’t give them that care. We all have been traumatized by the systems in place. When people are mean and angry, I really just see it as an indication of deep trauma of their own self. White people need to do that spiritual and ancestral healing too, learn of their lineage, of what their place means in the world. Not just read a book. They have to change and give up power. They have to do it on their own. They have to interrogate themselves.

[From The Cut]

Before I moved to Thailand for six months to study Tantra yoga, I was so stressed out that my hair started falling out and I suffered from chronic pain. It took a lot for me to give myself the permission to take care of myself, take a break from my hectic life and move to Thailand. It took me another two months to actually relax once I arrived at Shri Kali Ashram. One of the poses that features prominently in the practice is Savasana, the corpse pose, which should be the most restful pose in the series. But listen, that sh*t wasn’t for me. I would literally have panic attacks on the mat in Savasana. Once I learned to truly relax into Savasana, I would fall asleep at times which was a sign that my body was releasing all the stress stored in it. I am grateful for yoga because it taught me to relax and let go. Tricia is right, napping or any form of rest is most definitely radical self care. This is why I decided to share my yoga practice with as many people as I could, because it is my form of resistance.

I, like Tricia, nap most days because it is my way to power down, let down my guard and take a rest from a world that constantly tells me I have to work twice as hard to get half as much as my white counterparts. I personally think that latter statement is bullsh*t and I refuse to buy into it. However, constantly experiencing the violence that white supremacy metes out on the daily is exhausting so I nap to heal. Sometimes after a nap, I feel even more tired. That is probably because I sleep longer than 30 minutes. According to the Sleep Foundation, 10 – 20 minutes is supposedly the ideal length one should nap as it gives your body time to rest and recharge. I love the concept of what Tricia has created with The Nap Ministry and I hope that the idea of napping and self care in the Black community particularly is truly embraced. Like Tricia says, we are divine and are entitled to rest. As for me, to appease the goddess within, I will continue to nap daily and I don’t care how people feel about it.

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32 Responses to “Tricia Hershey, founder of The Nap Ministry: naps help ‘people see themselves as divine’”

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  1. Athyrmose says:

    Oh, Oya, tysm for this amazing post.

  2. I pet goat 2 says:

    Thank you for covering this!! Agree so much with what you and Tricia are saying. As to the spirituality of napping, for myself, a big part is lucid dreaming, which I can best do around 3 pm in the afternoon. Accessing my dreamscape is incredibly important and I feel replenished and as if a very different part of me (the one that exists outside of capitalism, white supremacy, etc, as Tricia said) is accessed and nourished.
    Oya, may i ask how you’re sharing your yoga practice? Do you do it physically within your community (pre covid), or do you share via videos or else?

    • Oya says:

      I do it virtually. I do virtual private lessons AND I have a free virtual community class on Saturdays. If you wish to attend the Saturday classes you can sign up here –

      • IMUCU says:

        I recommend Oya’s yoga class, I have really enjoyed it! I also love napping and have never felt bad about it. Most days off I nap and if I can get a long enough lunch break at work I will sometimes squeeze a short 20-30 minute one in. Napping majes me happy and I know it helps me bc I tend to feel less achy, etc. (related to Lupus), so I love this idea of a nap ministry!

      • pamspam says:

        Late to the party here, but I would LOVE to attend the Saturday class. I’m not having any luck with the site though…

      • Oya says:

        @pamspam Our next class is on Saturday Jan 16. The team decided to take another week off. Check the site on Monday or Tuesday next week. The link to sign up should be up by then 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    I’ve followed this account for a while and it’s excellent.

  4. mellie says:

    This lady and I sound like we would be great friends….I love coffee, baths and naps! I work hard at work (well, at home right now) and I work hard at home. What is wrong with a nice hot bath and a nap?
    During this quarantine, I’ve become accustomed to putting in an 8 1/2 hour day, taking an hour nap, going for a run, then coming home and cooking dinner, it’s so refreshing.

  5. meli says:

    She is the main reason I’m on instagram. Her reminders about our incessant “go go go” culture and how it affects us spiritually, mentally, physically is a godsend.

    • StephB says:

      I have learned so much about grind culture, the perils of capitalism, and the importance of rest as resistance this year. I’m so glad this ministry is being elevated!!!

  6. Case says:

    I’ve found 20 minute naps to be so restorative. I used to taking hour long naps and would just feel awful after, but quick, 20 minute naps (I usually set the alarm for 25-30 minutes so I have a cushion to fall asleep) actually have me feeling refreshed and energized after, it’s amazing.

    Rest of any kind really does feel like an act of resistance, for those of us who are afforded the time to do so. I just took the last week and a half off of work. No one else on my team did, and they tried to make me feel bad about it, but I truly couldn’t care less. I’m a better worker when I’m not burnt out and exhausted. I think EVERYONE who can should take a week off here and there. I work with people who brag about working 10 hour days, and yikes. We’re not robots.

    I love what she said about the pandemic and people unable to sit with themselves. I live alone and work from home. I’m introspective and enjoy my own company so I’ve mostly been doing well. These people who are all “we need to LIVE OUR LIVES” are wild to me because…do they really think hanging out at home and finding ways to occupy their time isn’t living?

  7. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I’m all for naps for other people, and I used to have them myself when young, but I can’t have them anymore. If I take a nap in the afternoon now, I am useless when I wake up for at least 2 or 3 more hours, it’s like having a hangover. So I just switched to going to bed earlier.

    • Noodle says:

      @nannytotherescue, it’s all about finding what works for you. I have chronic migraines that originate in my neck, and I can’t sleep more than about 5 hours at night without waking up in searing pain. I spend my day doing ice and heat and stretch regimens to recover from the overnight sleep. Cognitively, physically (apart from the neck and skull!) and emotionally, that isn’t enough sleep for me, so I break from work for a 60-90 minutes in the afternoon and take a nap. I structure my day to allow that afternoon quiet, as a trade-off for too little nighttime sleep, not because I don’t want to sleep more at night, but because I cannot.

      All that to say, you find what works for you and you do it. I read her overarching message to mean that we need to care deeply for our bodies, including getting the rest our bodies desperately need. If that means taking naps and baths – great! If that means sleeping longer at night – great! Prioritizing health and wellness shouldn’t be a once in a while luxury; it should be daily care, like we care for other parts of our lives.

      That, and we should not stigmatize or criticize those who DO prioritize rest. A colleague/friend of mine jokes about my everyday naps and thinks they’re a bit indulgent. She also may be a bit miffed that I protect that time, because it may interrupt her workflow if she has questions (even though it’s blocked off on my schedule and I am insistent on making sure prior to signing off that I am not needed at that time). That said, she also realizes I am much more productive afterwards, AND I am less likely to be knocked out an entire day (or four) if I can prevent the migraine. It’s not laziness; it’s how I care for myself.

  8. Muffintop says:

    I’ve followed the Nap Ministry for quite some time. She posts wonderful, thought provoking, soul questioning content. I love her posts, and I love your insights here too, Oya! Would love to hear more about where you’re sharing your yoga journey.

  9. Whistledown says:

    Oya! I’m also a student of Tantra! I can’t wait to hear more about it from you. (For those of gasping, Tantra yoga isn’t the sex stuff about having two hour long orgasms.)

  10. Jane Doe says:

    I follow this woman on Twitter. Her perspective is excellent for helping me with decisions in the moment, what work is necessary versus harmful, what is draining and not serving me…

  11. Nikolina says:

    Omg, I love that you are covering this!!! I’m huge fan of Tricia’s work and a member on her Patreon. What she’s doing is revolutionary. I am so happy she’s getting coverage

  12. Mely says:

    Around 3 pm I start to feel sleepy. Most days I’m not able to lay down. I try to use that time to read or journal. Just let my mind take a 30 minute time out from the day.

  13. Lucy says:

    I’m such a fan of her work, been following her on Instagram for maybe two years?
    It reminds me of when I was working 7 am to 9 pm (and frequently later) in a demanding job, and my boss was horrified to find out I had been taking 20 minute naps in the phone nooks. They were rooms with a doorca chair and a phone, literally 3’x3′. I was like dude, I was here until 11 last night. A 20 minute nap is better than 3 hours of shitty work while I hope the sugar works to wake me up.
    That job is where I learned companies will take every single scrap of time you give them, hold your human needs against you, then discard the husk once you burn out.

  14. Anna says:

    Tricia is amazing! Her Nap Ministry is life-changing! Had the opportunity to experience her guiding a meditation in person and it was so beautiful. There are others I’ve noticed starting to champion this (a few who are copping her designs, though, so that’s not cool) and I’m all for Black folks especially unlearning and rewiring. Yes, we still have to fight daily for our very lives and that causes extreme stress, but we can also find ways to shift how we think about and approach this, rest as essential to life. Been thinking about this a lot lately as I struggle with performance anxiety or whatever it is, where I’m so stressed about all the stuff I need to get done and should have gotten done that I can’t rest but that in turn means stuff doesn’t get done. Vicious cycle combined with anxiety and low-to-mid level depression…#pandemic
    Thank you, Oya, for this post and reminder via the beautiful Tricia!

  15. Melissa says:

    Huge fan of the Nap Ministry! It’s wonderful to see Ms. Hershey getting these write ups and I love seeing her here! Thank you for covering!

  16. Isa says:

    Revolutionary and so important!

  17. Marigold says:

    Naps and hot baths are delicious to me. I’ve always enjoyed them. I’m not a good sleeper at night for some reason, but I love a cozy nap on the couch.

  18. Cee says:


  19. Cee says:

    I wish I could nap every single day. It’s the best thing apart from sleeping at night.

  20. Renee says:

    I nap at least 4 days a week and love it. This post is brilliant!

  21. Moo says:

    Thank you so much for this.

  22. Meg says:

    Unfortunate that as kids many of us hated naps but love them as adults, yet were given nap time only as kids at school

  23. herhighness says:

    I am an exhausted Black woman! Have been for a long time, it feels good to admit that – I am not superwoman and it takes a friggin toll