Naps: A User’s Guide

It’s a terrible Tuesday at Blair. After waking up at 7 am, having 6 classes, and immediately having sports practice, you sit down to complete your hours-worth of homework. As you begin to enter into the boring and confusing world of Shakespeare, you sink into your chair, your eyelids become heavy, and then you cannot shake the exhaustion overcoming your body anymore. We’ve all been there. With the rigorous Blair schedule, some days it becomes so difficult to fight the feelings of fatigue. However, later that night, after giving into your exhaustion and taking that nap during the day, you find it nearly impossible to fall asleep, tossing and turning in your bed for seemingly forever.

There are many benefits to taking naps during the day, but are the drawbacks worth it? Here are some common questions answered about taking naps according to the Mayo Clinic and ways to get the most out of your napping experience:

How long should you nap for?

Keep your naps under thirty minutes for a quick “power nap.” Once you have slept for over thirty minutes, you enter into a deep sleep, making it difficult to wake up afterwards, causing you to feel groggy. If you have the time, a nap that is 90 minutes will take you through the entire sleep cycle, including REM sleep, and when you wake up, you won’t feel sluggish. However, many of us don’t have the time in our schedules for a nap of this length, so a 20-minute power nap is probably best during your average day at Blair.

What are the benefits of napping?

A quick 10-30 minute power nap can make you feel rejuvenated and give you a quick boost of energy to continue on for the rest of your day, and also improve alertness and performance. Taking a 90-minute nap or longer has a few more benefits than the power nap, including improved procedural memory, creativity, and mood.

What are the drawbacks of napping?

If you take a nap that is longer than 30 minutes and less than 90 minutes, you will be in your deep sleep stage. When you awake from a nap of this length, you may feel sluggish and groggy, making it more difficult to continue on with your daily activities. Another drawback is not being able to fall asleep that night.

How can you avoid the negative side effects that may come with taking a nap?

Take a nap for the recommended amount of time to avoid feeling even more tired upon waking from one. Additionally, try to nap before 3 p.m. so your nap does not affect your nighttime sleeping patterns.

(Copyright 2019 Samantha Cerami)