Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Benefits of Napping

As college students, our sleep cycles are often not consistent and sometimes we need to take a nap during the day.  Naps can be great for you; they can help us with our memory, learning more information, and enhance our overall performance.

Memory:  We can take in and retain more information after we have napped.  Our memory strength improves because after we nap, it helps our brain solidify our memories by storing them to the cerebral cortex so it is more permanent, leaving room to learn more.
Learning: Since napping clears your temporary storage, you are ready to absorb new information.  Research has shown that taking a midday nap allows students to perform better even a few hours later.  Cramming the night before doesn’t help your brain absorb as much so make sure you are getting enough sleep the night before.

Don’t burn yourself out: Napping can be a great stress relief from overloading your brain and burning yourself out.  Napping can also improve your visual abilities from being exhausted and allow you to perform at a higher level. 
How long should I nap for?
It is recommended that naps are kept short, about 20-30 minutes.  This can make us feel significantly better and won’t leave us feeling groggy or interfere with our nighttime sleep.

*Image from The Wall Street Journal
How do I get the most out of napping?
If we can learn how long it takes us to fall asleep, we factor that into our nap time too.  If you have a sleep app or fitness tracker, you can get a general idea of how long it takes.  Setting an alarm on our phone can be another help tip, add about 5-10 minutes to your time to allow for how long it takes you to fall asleep.  You’ll be able to relax more knowing you won’t sleep too long and become groggy.
Choose the right time of day to get the best nap, usually after lunch works for a lot of people, assuming it fits into your class schedule.  This helps you get a better nap since your energy levels are naturally decreased and you won’t feel like you are struggling to relax during the day.
Practice can definitely help too!  What college student doesn’t want to hear that practice the art of napping is a good thing?  Over time, you will begin to know what works for you—change up your time of day, nap length, or different ways to wake up.
Don’t think you’ll be able to fall asleep?
That’s okay, it’s beneficial just to rest for 10 minutes, it can help improve mood regardless of whether or not someone falls asleep.
Snoozin’ Like a Panther
Come to our open session about healthy sleep habits and how restful sleep can impact your life personally, professionally, and academically.
October 17th: Martinsville Room of the MLK Union at 6:30pm
You may request a presentation for your residence hall floor or RSO by clicking here. For additional information on sleep, call the HERC at (217) 581-7756 or email the Health Promotion Coordination’s at herc-hlthpromo@eiu.edu or herc-genhlth@eiu.edu

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