Think naps are for the weak? Think again

 

The ideal power nap is 20 minutes long and will increase your alertness and motor skills. (AP Photo)
The ideal power nap is 20 minutes long and will increase your alertness and motor skills. (AP Photo)

As the third week of the semester is finally upon us, classes are shifting into full gear. No longer is it acceptable to waste the first 20 minutes of lecture time with inane questions about the syllabus or walk in late with the excuse that you forgot the classroom number. Times are starting to get stressful as the piling workload reminds us that sleepless, caffeine-filled nights are right around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you’ve slowly started to reacquaint yourself with your favorite stress coping mechanism: naps. If done right, a nap can be a beautiful thing. More often than not, students don’t nap properly, and this light slumber ends up harming them more than helping them. Here are a few tips to help you nap right the way and get the most out of some shuteye:

1. Are you sleep deprived? If yes, napping is the solution for you. Of course, a good night’s sleep is always preferable, but if this is not an option, simply take a nap. This will allow you to recharge and improve your motor skills.

2. The desired result of your nap can be determined by its length. As you may know, the ideal power nap is 20 minutes long and will increase both your alertness and motor skills. But if you want to improve your memory and recall, a 30- to 60-minute nap is the answer for you. Need to exercise even more brainpower for activities that involve creative thinking? Extend that nap to 60 to 90 minutes, and you’ll get your desired results.

3. Naps can be used to cope with stress in a healthy way (unlike the method described above). If you establish a regular schedule, preferably in the middle of the day, you’ll definitely get the energy boost you need. Also, be sure to nap in the dark, because this allows you to fall asleep faster.

4. When faced with the dilemma of coffee or a nap, and you’re leaning toward coffee, ask yourself this — can I afford to compromise my recall ability? If the answer is no, which it most likely will be, then lay your head down, because you need a nap. Even though coffee may make you feel more alert, it will come at a price. This caffeinated beverage will impair your precision.

5. Some people intentionally don’t cover themselves with a blanket while napping because they fear that becoming too comfortable will prevent them from waking up when needed. Do not do this. Your body temperature drops while you’re sleeping, so a blanket is necessary to stay warm. The more comfortable you are, the quicker you’ll fall asleep, and the more rested you’ll be when it’s time to wake up.

When done correctly, naps are a powerful mechanism for recharging. Nap wisely and carpe diem!

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