The Science of Napping


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It's 10pm on a Monday night in the library and you wake up red faced with creases imprinted on your cheek that perfectly match the biology book that you just used as a pillow. You were trying to be studious and catch up on all the work that you probably should've done this weekend, but instead your body caved to exhaustion and you somehow ended up facedown drooling on your 1,200 page biology textbook. Maybe not everyone is faced with this situation but I know I have been. And really the question that runs through my mind is would it have made more sense to actually take a nap then attempt to do my homework? Was my feeble attempt to do homework futile because I was so exhausted?

 

Well I recently read an article in the New York Times that said that those who take naps were much more productive and had better memories. This article highlighted a study that was done on air traffic controllers, who were given 40 minutes to nap, which increased their attentiveness and reaction times. Further, when the air traffic controllers were given 60-90 minutes to nap these results only improved, especially memory skills. This study found that taking a 60-90 minute nap improved test scores as much as getting a full 8 hours of sleep a night. It was also found that employees who worked in 90 minute cycles were the most productive. Another study was also mentioned in this article in which 39 people were asked to learn 100 names and be tested on them the next day. The group that took a 90 minute nap in between the first 50 names and the last 50 names performed 20 % better on the test. It was concluded from this study that taking a 60-90 minute nap actually restored the brains ability to learn.

 

So I guess this article proves what most of you might have guessed, it's better to take a nap, than to push through your exhaustion and attempt to get your homework done. Reading this article has taught me two important lessons: that I definitely should have taken a nap before I tried to complete my biology homework and that you should take breaks about every 90 minutes when you study. On that note my 90 minutes of production are up, which means that its break time, and more importantly nap time.

 

Here's a link to the article I used: Relax! You'll Be More Productive 

8 Comments

Once I saw the title I was so excited to read this blog and now I am even more excited about what I learned! I love napping. Sleeping is one of my most favorite things to do and I can honestly fall asleep anywhere. I have heard different things over the years about the effectiveness of naps and whether they harm or help you in the long run. I have also heard different things about what the ideal nap length is, like in this article it says just 10-20 minutes for young adults: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-body/201006/ultimate-napping-how-guide . However, a 90 minute nap sounds more like it just because I genuinely enjoy it. While I'm doing homework I often find myself dozing off and in need of some quick shut-eye so I typically set a timer for 30 minutes to wake me up and get back to work. This is usually super helpful but sometimes that extra boost of energy does not last me so I give myself another 30 minutes, and sometimes another. I think now I will just allow myself to sleep a straight hour to hour and a half and see if that works better for me. I'm glad I can break up my studies with naps and be even more efficient than if I didn't include it!

Like Amy said, I saw the title of this article and was extremely excited to read your blog entry! Napping is crucial in my schedule if I ever plan to get anything done. But sometimes I find myself sleeping too long to the point where I wake up and just feel more tired than I was before. Or I won't be able to sleep at night. So really, what is the perfect amount of time to take a nap? The national sleep foundation has some very helpful tips on their website for when to take a nap and even how to plan a nap! Im definitely going to use some of these tips, because I plan my day around when I can take a nap! Heres the article ! http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/napping

This post caught my attention because I, myself, am a fan of napping. I like to take naps as much as I can. I try to each day, actually. Sometimes I feel almost as if the opposite happens to me when I'm really over tired. After waking up from a nap; the last thing I want to do is my homework. I try to take naps after my work is completed. Naps are a way for me to take a break and relax for a little. I'm happy to see that napping has positive side effects because my family tends to think that I sleep too much. Now I can prove to them that napping is actually helping me get through my day. This article below actually states how napping is good for your health.
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/is-taking-a-nap-during-the-day-good-or-bad-for-your-health.html#b

I also wrote a blog on napping because I was constantly not getting enough sleep at night and needed to take one or two naps each day. I learned that as long as you wake up during Stage 2 or after RAM you will feel reenergized and ready to get back to work. Here is a link to a more detailed version of all the stages of sleep http://psychology.about.com/od/statesofconsciousness/a/SleepStages.htm

This article was especially interesting to me because I'm not really a fan of napping. I've always found napping to be sort of a waste of time. I could be doing something so much more productive or fun during the time I sleep. Unfortunately, this mentality always catches up to me because sleep is obviously necessary. When I get to the point of utter exhaustion I usually allow myself a 20 minute power nap (http://www.wikihow.com/Power-Nap). According to your blog, I've been doing it wrong all along. It's really interesting for me to see how it's actually more beneficial to just sleep opposed to doing your work, because in the long run you will be more attentive and productive when going back to the work. I guess I'll have to start using this mentality!

Unfortunately, my "naps" could turn into 2 hours of sleep...so I have given up haha! But who doesn't like a good nap in the middle of a long day?! I had always thought naps were bad for you, but this article changed my mind about that! I think it's pretty cool that it can actually help your performance. Maybe next time I'm yawning in class I will change my mind about taking a nap!

Napping may be one of my favorite hobbies as a full time college student. I am glad I came across this article which I now can use to back up my stance on mid day naps. Most of my friends spend hours at a time staring at a text book or computer screen only to get distracted and foggy. I will let them know now that an hour or hour and a half nap could solve this problem. It is unsettling how much sleep some people actually get cramming for exams and finals. Even if you have a million things to do and no time to spare, a nap might just be worth it.

For me, taking a nap is usually an essential part of my day. Even a 5 minute cat-nap will do. I don't know how it works, but taking a nap can really get me rejuvenated. I live in New York, and I drive to and from school. There are times whilst on the road when I almost completely fall asleep, (it's actually terrifying) so I pull into some parking lot for a 10-15 minute nap. After that I'm good for the rest of the drive. I don't know what I would do without naps.

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