Gone With The Wind Book

2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.

The Importance of Napping, Getting Your Proper Rest, So Your Day Won’t Be “Gone With The Wind”

There is an article on Yahoo today about Power Naps. This term “Power Nap” has suddenly changed people’s outlook on something that many people have known for years. As a child  this writer experienced her dad coming home from work every day to take a short nap, after which he was refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day. Anyone who saw this man in action could clearly see the nap allowed him to function at his best.

There are those who may have thought taking a nap in the middle of the day was a lazy thing to do, but now that it has it’s own name–“Power Nap” it ranks up there with sensible, healthy, even “hip” things to do.

“Most people don’t get enough sleep,” says Nancy Collop, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, according to the Yahoo article. “And for those people, a nap will clearly help. The most important factor is duration, and it’s well-accepted that short naps are good.”

The Yahoo article goes on to talk about how some companies that realize the sense in a nap, in that it can increase productivity in employees, are actually setting aside rooms designed for taking naps.

This is nothing new to Gone With The Wind fans who remember the chapter in the book and the scene in the movie where the women take time out from the barbecue to nap at the Wilkes’ house.  The upstairs bedrooms are filled with ladies who have taken off their dresses and hoops to recline in the comfort of the beds–sometimes three ladies to a bed.

While the men smoke their cigars, drink their Brandy, and talk of politics and war, the ladies retire upstairs. Scarlett O’Hara thinks naps are silly, just as she doesn’t see the point in eating before going to a barbecue.  “Why does a girl have to act so silly to get a man?” she  asks Mammy.

Rather than take a nap she sneaks downstairs to find Ashley. Maybe if she had taken her nap things might have gone better for her in the story. Perhaps some of her problems revolved around her lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep can cause problems in our everyday life.  A study at the University of Chicago  found that lack of sleep can threaten the body’s metabolism.  According to MedicineNet.com , the scientists studied physical changes in 11 young men who slept for just four hours a night for a week.  The findings were that sleep deprivation seemed to trigger a “diabetes-like condition, harmed hormone production and interfered with the ability to use carbohydrates.”

Some of the physical signs of lack of sleep include: being irritable or crabby, lack of concentration, seeming to “snap” under pressure, memory loss, appetite change, and social problems. Let’s examine Scarlett O’Hara and see if maybe some of her problems could have been solved had she just stayed in bed that day at the Wilkes plantation.

Irritable or Crabby- Probably one of the biggest displays of irritability was in the Wilkes library after Scarlett slapped Ashley and he left. She picked up the vase and threw it.

Scarlett: [Rhett has heard Scarlett’s and Ashley’s fight] and Sir you should have made your presence known
Rhett Butler: In the middle of that beautiful love scene. Now that wouldn’t have been very tactful would it?
Scarlett: Oh! You sir are no gentlemen.
Rhett Butler: And you Ms. are no lady.

Lack of Concentration- Scarlett must be so tired she can’t think straight.

I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.


Feeling Tired-

Scarlett: “Mammy I’m so tired…”

When Scarlett came back to Tara, she worked herself and everyone else to the bone.  At one point of weakness she poured her thoughts out to her trusted friend Mammy.


And of course if you don’t get enough sleep you won’t eat right and then you might faint…

Scarlett: Rhett, don’t. I shall faint.
Rhett Butler: I want you to faint. This is what you were meant for. None of the fools you’ve ever know have kissed you like this, have they? Your Charles, or your Frank, or your stupid Ashley.
Snapping Under Pressure- Scarlett snapped several times in the book/movie. She slapped a few people, which maybe if she had been rested up she might not have done. She also lost her temper easily. That time at the store with Frank Kennedy was a good example.

Scarlett: Great balls of fire. Don’t bother me anymore, and don’t call me sugar.

Change In Appetite- That whole conversation with Mammy over whether or not Prissy should take the “vittles” back to the kitchen.

Prissy: Mammy, here’s Miss Scarlett’s vittles.
Scarlett: You can take it all back to the kitchen; I won’t eat a bite.
Mammy: Yes’m you is, you’s gonna eat every mouthful of this.
Scarlett: No… I’m… NOT

Memory Loss. Scarlett is talking to Frank Kennedy who mentions his store.

Scarlett: “Store? You have a store?’

You wind up having Social Problems – You have trouble understanding things and others have trouble communicating with you. People who are sleep deprived often do not get a grasp of the situation. They may see things differently than perhaps if they had had enough sleep.

Scarlett: You’d rather live with that silly little fool who can’t open her mouth except to say “yes” or “no” and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her.
Ashley: You mustn’t say unkind things about Melanie.
Scarlett: Who are you to tell me I mustn’t? You led me on… you made me believe you wanted to marry me.
Ashley: Now Scarlett, be fair. I never at any time…
Scarlett: You did, it’s true, you did.

According to Harvard’s website, The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

The good thing about Scarlett O’Hara is she finally decides to sleep. At the end of the books she decides to work on her problems the next day which gives us the idea she might actually get some sleep.  Now that you have had  a fun reminder about the importance of sleep, why not think about this TODAY: get some rest.  The more rested you are the better person you will be.


By Sally Tippett Rains, author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com)


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This entry was posted on November 16, 2010 by in Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara.


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