Pressing the Reset Button: The Importance of Napping

What better prescription could you get from your doctor than an order to sleep more?

As a student, it can be hard to get enough sleep. Many times, it can seem that work, family and school obligations are cutting into your rest. But seeing sleep as only one 7-9 hour period of time per day may be the base of our problems when are calculating our daily rest.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers who sleep for short periods throughout the day as needed. Humans, on the other hand, are monophasic sleepers whose days are split into specific times for rest and wakefulness.

While it doesn’t always come naturally for us to take naps through the day, the benefits of a small 20-30 minute nap include increased alertness, improved mood, improved creativity, quicker reaction times, better memory and improved overall performance of tasks.

Many organizations are actually promoting naps, as well. The University of Oregon has created several spaces around campus that are designed for students to take breaks and nap. They even created a Nap Map so students can find these sleep spaces easily. Also, Google famously encourages employees to rest in “nap pods” that are scattered around their Mountain View, California campus.

A short nap could be the perfect addition to your day that gets you ready to take a big test or push you through that final paper. Try out a daily nap in the next few days and let us know how it worked in the comments below.

Tips to Fitting Naps into Your Day
1. Your sleep environment is important. It can greatly affect your ability to fall asleep. Find a quiet area with moderate temperature. Some people enjoy sleeping in their car on their lunch break while others are perfectly content falling asleep with their headphones on in their breakroom. Find the space that works for you.

2. Beware of Oversleeping. Napping more than you need can lead to sleep inertia, the groggy feeling you can get when you wake up from a long sleep. For some, this can accompany just a 30 minute nap. Set timers and try to discover your optimal sleep time.

3. Nap During the Day. Napping too late may negatively affect your sleep cycle at night. Recommended nap times range from noon to 3 p.m.  A late night nap can also lead to waking up at 3 a.m. with every light and appliance on, leaving you unable to go back to sleep (we have all been there). Remember to set an alarm for times just like this!

Author: Claire Stewart

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