By Jordan Belanger
Something that we all daydream about in class then rush home to achieve. I mean, how nice does it feel after that all-nighter and 8:00 am exam to hit the hay when you finally make it home? Naps are something that we take for granted in our lives. However, did you know that naps are actually really good for you? Taking a 20 minute power nap can improve your alertness and increase motor performance. Taking that nap resets your system and allows your body to get itself back together to move on with the rest of your day. Taking a 30- 60 minute nap also has a lot of strong effects, including improvement of decision- making skills and memory function. Even those 60- 90 minute naps allows your body to accomplish more than drool; playing a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.
Now I know what you are thinking- uhh Jordan ever hear of a Starbucks white chocolate mocha? Yes, yes I have. Most of my colleagues will tell you that coffee is the key to getting them through the day versus naps. Dr. Sarah Mednick, PhD and sleep expert would argue that if you are looking to improve brain function throughout the day, a nap is the better way to go. She says that caffeine actually decreases memory performance; and although you are more wired, you make more mistakes. She also advised that naps can reduce stress along with your risk for heart disease.
Dr. Mednick suggests that if you are going to nap, make sure you are consistent. Primary napping time falls between 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm; so make sure you keep a nap schedule! Also, make it quick; there is no need to press snooze 5 times during the day like you do when you wake up in the morning. Set an alarm and get up when it goes off; or else you will be groggy the rest of the day! Also, make sure you are taking naps in a dark area or room; or wear a sleep mask. The less light you have, the easier you fall asleep and the more you will get out of your nap. Lastly, stay warm; get your favorite blanket or snuggy or whatever helps keep you warm while you sleep.
One last final tip from me- turn your phone on silent or off. Please. Facebook and Twitter will keep functioning while you take your nap. Make your nap time about you, and not updating on how cute you look lying down. The light that radiates from your phone while you are looking at it actually makes it more difficult for you to sleep. With all this being said I hope you are able to take what I have told you and allow yourself to take more naps during your week. Trust me, it helps. Happy slumber!