All About Napping
It’s very likely that you haven’t taken an actual nap since you were in kindergarten. In fact, you probably haven’t had a solid eight hour sleep since seventh grade. At least, that’s what my sleep schedule was like coming into university.
So why a post about napping? Well, the simple truth is this: you will need to nap.
Whether you’re out all night partying, too stressed to sleep, or getting the same amount of sleep you did in high school, naps will become a new, normal part of your existence.
For some people, it sucks. They know they’re wasting time and they know naps don’t actually make them less tired. For other people, they’re heaven. They wake refreshed and ready to take on all the projects that seemed like too much before they fell asleep. Unfortunately, you can’t pick and choose how good you are at napping.
Every cycle of REM sleep takes about 90 minutes, but you probably don’t have 90 minutes to spare for a nap. So like every other university student, you have to plan your naps more strategically than that. Shorter naps are better: 15-20 minutes if you have the self-control, whereas longer naps 50-60 minutes might leave you feeling drowsy. But at the same time, everyone is different, so it’s hard to say exactly what length of nap will work best for you.
The urge to nap rarely comes on conveniently. So where might the best places to nap on campus be if you don’t live on campus?
- The Library – Find one of the comfy chairs and curl up. No one will bother you.
- A Hallway – Always good if you have an hour between classes and can sleep anywhere. Close your eyes and doze.
- On the Quad – If it’s warm. On a warm, sunny day, find a patch of shade and fall asleep.
Some other helpful napping tips:
- Set an alarm especially if you’re sleeping between classes. You don’t want to miss a class because you overslept in the middle of the afternoon. But even if you’re done classes for the day, you probably have something else to do. So don’t let yourself sleep the whole day away.
- Make sure you’re comfortable. There is nothing worse than waking up from a nap with a terrible kink in your neck that you have to deal with for the rest of the day.
- Figure out what works for you. There are lots of articles that will tell you good nap times and the right way to do this or that, but when it comes down to it, everyone’s body works differently. If napping for an hour works, then do that. If napping for ten minutes works, do that. No one is judging you.
Finally, be aware of why you’re napping. In a lot of ways, napping is how university students take care of themselves. The stress/homework/class grind can get the better of anyone and sleep is important, no matter what time of day it is. But please be aware that if you’re always tired, that if you feel constantly sleepy, there may be something else going on. So don’t hesitate to get professional help.