Napping My Way to Graduation
I didn’t like first grade. Sure, the school part was fine, making friends was easy and time-out’s weren’t horrible; but nap-time? Come on, the last thing I wanted to do in a room filled with toys and 20 available playmates was curl up on some scratchy carpet square and pretend to sleep for twenty minutes. I don’t think I actually took a nap once that entire year and I still graduated to second grade so what was the big deal? Now that I’m in college and brag about 5 hours of sleep, I look back at first grade and wish someone would schedule in a nap-time for me. With the spring semester starting up in a few days, I decided to do a little investigating and see if napping was really worth it. The following is what I found.
According to WebMD, napping is the way to go! Just twenty minute power naps have shown to significantly improve focus. Several other websites supported naps too. I found that twenty minutes of shut eye not only improves focus, but also improves alertness, memory, overall health and mood. If that isn’t enough, napping has shown to decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease. All that in just twenty minutes of bonding time with my pillow? I’m in.
And there’s more. Several of these websites mentioned how great napping can be for your pocket book. I did a little calculating and figured that I spent roughly $375 last semester on coffee. That’s just five drinks a week. Add all the calories into the mix and after just three months I was up nearly 18,000 calories and down 375 dollars.* My jeans are tight, my wallet is empty, and I’m still tired.
What have we learned?
Napping > Coffee
WebMD touched on this coffee issue too. Because napping increases focus, you are less likely to make mistakes on post-nap tasks. Coffee is a stimulant, allowing an increased awareness but it essentially “wires” the brain and decreases the memory’s strength.
Don’t forget to set an alarm though. Exceeding 90 minutes for a nap can lead to grogginess and an even worse sense of tiredness. Twenty minutes a day is the ideal nap length but naps ranging anywhere from 20-90 minutes will work.
I guess they had it right back in first grade. If pretend-napping graduated me to second grade, maybe I can nap my way to college graduation. Long story short: Ditch the coffee and get some extra zzz’s. Your body and your bank account will thank you.
*Note: I drink lattes most days and used those figure.