When they told you you’d meet your closest friends in college, you probably didn’t think they were talking about coffee, energy drinks and the receptionist who works the midnight shift at the library. If you wake up in the morning already wanting a nap, you’re not alone. As college students, we’re familiar with all-nighters and caffeine with each meal. However, especially with midterms creeping in, it’s imperative that we take a second to address just how important sleep actually is.
The time we spend snoozing is the time our bodies do their recharging. While you’re asleep dreaming of Jalen Watts-Jackson’s game-winning touchdown against Michigan, your body is putting in overtime, catering to your health from the inside out. Sleep aids in memory, alertness, problem solving, decreased risk of many diseases and emotional well-being. On top of that, a good night’s sleep also elicits a better physical appearance, with fresher-looking skin and brighter eyes.
For college students, a full eight hours of sleep can seem a little ambitious. There are only 24 hours in a day, filled with classes, jobs, internships and sports practices among other things. Even though we should aim towards a complete night’s sleep each day, most studies agree that while frequent naps shouldn’t take the place of a full sleep, short snoozes reap most of the same rewards as an eight-hour-long slumber.
For the most effective catnap, you should doze off for somewhere between ten to ninety minutes. A ten-minute power nap provides a quick burst of energy and alertness, while seasoned nappers can actually go through one full REM cycle during a ninety-minute rest. This means they go from the lightest to deepest stages of sleep and back again, leaving them feeling almost completely refreshed. Schedule permitting, naps should be taken between noon and 3 p.m., so not to interfere with regular sleep cycles.
Napping and regulated sleep also help diminish caffeine dependencies, which can lead to accelerated heart rate, irritability and other negative side effects. With less caffeine, you may also notice your wallet feeling heavier with all the money you’re probably saving on Starbucks.
As if you needed an excuse to sleep any more, March 13 is National Nap Day, so go ahead and celebrate! Press snooze one more time! Make up for all those naps you refused in preschool! Stop counting the number of things you have to do and start counting sheep, because after all, if you don’t sleep, how can your dreams ever come true?
Chloe Becker is a senior professional writing student with a concentration in environmental studies and biology. She’s well versed in the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the lore of World of Warcraft. Keep up with her (and her pets) on Instagram at @chlopbeck.