Want to do well on midterms? Take a nap!

Want to do well on midterms? Take a nap!

Jaime Pallatta, Managing Editor

One topic that is always trending on my Twitter feed is napping. Most tweets are to the effect of: “cant wait til 3 so i can nap #winning.” Some wax poetic about the joys napping brings: “a good nap can fix anything.” Others wake up groggy and confused: “woke up from my nap and had no idea what day it was.”

This napping epidemic among young people is fairly healthy, even though some parents might call their children “old women” for their frequent sleeping.  Science supports napping as it has many benefits for mental health. Let’s take a look at some reasons why naps are beneficial, especially for students:

  • Researchers at Harvard University reported that naps help you to retain information. Several studies concluded that people who were asked to memorize something had a higher recall after taking a nap than if they hadn’t.
  • Sara Mednick, an assistant psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside determined that a nap which includes a full sleep cycle, about 90 minutes, aids in creativity and emotional and procedural memory.
  • Harvard sleep researcher, Robert Stockgold, and his research team showed that napping makes people more effective problem solvers as it increases their ability to separate important information from unnecessary details. And if the nirvana of sleep, REM sleep, is achieved, people become better at making connections.
  • The National Sleep Foundation says that a short nap of 20-30 minutes can improve mood, alertness and performance.

Now that we’ve established that naps are good for you, let’s discuss tips for taking the best nap possible in order to get the most out of it.

  • Plan out your naps. Having a scheduled nap time can help you fall asleep faster because you anticipate it. Don’t wait until you get so tired you can’t function.
  • Keep naps quick. An ideal nap only last about 20-30 minutes, which is just the right amount of time to reap the benefits. Sleep inertia, or grogginess, can result from long naps.
  • Try to nap in a cool, dark, and quiet space. Noise and light can be distracting and keep you from falling asleep. Cool temperatures are also ideal, but keep a blanket nearby because your body temperature drops when asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine as much as possible or plan out your coffee intake so the caffeine is not in effect when you want to fall asleep.

Now that you have all the tools to get the best nap possible, hit the sheets so you remember everything you studied for midterms.