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You walk into your campus library and find your usual corner table claimed. Behind a stack of textbooks and slumped over a polyester jacket and backpack is a human head nuzzled between their elbows, with their glasses slowly drooping from their ears. Dozing.
You think to yourself, "Been there."
We like to affirm that napping is more beneficial to students than going about your days sleep-deprived. A dozer may be more widely seen as someone unproductive, but that could be further from the truth if you know how and when to use it.
Here are 10 science-backed reasons why napping is beneficial:
You can stay alert
Naps improve mental clarity and motor skills. It reduces grogginess and gives a fresh burst of energy in the body and mind. The world-renowned 'NASA nap' states 26 minutes have been proven to enhance alertness by 56%. See? A nap before a lecture doesn't sound so bad after all.
You can retain memory
Hoping to score a better grade? You can better retain a short-term memory by napping for as little as an hour. Evidence shows that napping immediately after learning new information retained both immediately and over the next course of the following days.
You can think effectively
When you enter slow-wave sleep, it helps re-connect ideas and relate them to one another, building a wider web of understanding within the brain. Need to think creatively or collaborate with a group? This is a good enough reason to nap.
You can fight depression
One of the worst ways to sink yourself into mood swings is by sleep deprivation. Sometimes even 20 minutes can ameliorate your mood. This is especially important for those who suffer from depressive episodes or times of consistently low mood. There is no drug or substitute for sleep! Producing serotonin and cortisol for your body naturally helps fight depression.
You can concentrate
Struggling to get through a task? Rather than zombie-ing through a task, better use of time might be to take a nap. Any self-directed studies or required readings could benefit from a power nap. Just be sure you set a timer.
You can gain more clarity
Studies have shown naps to enhance clarity in decision-making. Would you want your pilots or paramedic to pull an all-nighter? Not so wise, is it? With clarity, you can make solve broader problems in both your work and play.
You decrease stress
Naps increase the production of norepinephrine, which is a hormone that tempers the effect stress has on the physical body, particularly on blood pressure and heart rate. Let's face it, mental health contributes to overall health. And you'll need your health for as long as the program demands it.
You sleep better overall
If you're a victim of bringing stressors to your bed, you're not doing yourself a favour. This means coffee, screen time or erratic thoughts as a part of your 'sleep hygiene'. Maintain your natural body clock and use regulated napping to sleep better at night.
You can avoid weight gain
If you find yourself craving sugar, you're likely not getting enough sleep. After the initial energy from sugar runs out, you're just as tired as you were before. Not to mention sugar causes inflammation in the hippocampus, a key memory centre.
You can boost your immune system
Try not to think about the amount of germs there are at school. Napping boosts the immune-regulating molecule called interleukin-6 within the body. You can boost your immunity to colds and illnesses, which effectively curbs the disruption to your productivity.
Marketing Manager, Second Bind
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