I love to sleep. Daytime, nighttime, standing, sitting-you name it; I will pass out if I have the chance. Obviously, I am always a hardworking, ambitious student who does not go to sleep at night until my work is complete. Inevitably, this calls for some (way too many) late nights. Guilty of procrastination, I find way too many things to do besides get into bed and go to sleep. The screeching of my alarm clock in the morning makes my ears bleed (not actually), and my next thought as I unhappily wake up is when I can fit in that afternoon nap. The feeling of getting into bed after some exhausting and boring morning classes is the most satisfying moment ever. I tend to take very long naps; a few hours at the least. When I wake up groggy, and usually unaware of what day it is (do not act like this has not happened to you), I always want to just rest my head back down and fall back asleep. I thought napping was supposed to be rejuvenating, right? Is napping actually good for you after all?
Don’t be bummed! A recent study proves that naps can help improve learning. Alex Mecklinger from the Saarland Neuropsychology Unit conducted an experiment with 41 subjects. He had each of them memorize 90 words and 120 groups of words. Immediately after the memorization, the subjects had to recite as many of the words they could remember. Then, half of the subjects took a nap for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and the rest watched a DVD in the categorized time period. Once 90 minutes had passed, all of the subjects had to recite all of the words they could remember for the second time. The results were outstanding. The participants who took a nap performed increasingly (more than 5x) better than those who watched the DVD. Further, the participants who napped also performed just as exceptionally the second time around as the first.
The results of this experiment are consistent with the hypothesis that naps are indeed good for you. However, as with most things in life, you should take that with a grain of salt. Many rules and restrictions apply when attempting to take a beneficial nap. Naps can be beneficial to overall personal health and learning if they are under an hour; a thirty minute nap is ideal. Planning a time to nap and wake up can help your body prepare for it. A pre-determined nap time each day will lessen the time it takes to fall asleep at night. Feel free to view this video on how to take a productive nap.
Of course, excessive napping can be a sign of something much more than pulling an all-nighter. Exhaustion and the urge to sleep is on the symptom list of several different medical concerns. The conclusion that napping is neither harmful nor hurtful is in coercion with the hypothesis that naps are beneficial. In the experiment at hand, a quick nap is one of the most significant ways to rejuvenate your body.
Most college students would love nothing more than to lay in bed and sleep all day. Classes are rigorous. Schoolwork is time consuming. Extra curricular activities are fun yet depleting. Benefit yourself. Become a better learner. Take a nap.