The Art of Power Napping

Sleep — it’s a necessity we just can’t get enough of. And I mean this quite literally, as research from the annual ParticipACTION report on Physical Activity found that over a quarter of Canadian teens are sleep-deprived! The mantra of “I slept at 2!” has even become a point to bond over. Despite our pursuit for more sleep, sleep somehow ends up as a last priority, after the onslaught of school assignments, tests, and extracurriculars. So if you do happen to be sleep-deprived, how do you stay awake when the caffeine just doesn’t cut it? Well, allow me to introduce Power Napping!

If you’re feeling drowsy, a short nap gives your brain and body time to re-energize. Studies show that napping not only reduces stress, but also boosts alertness, learning, and memory. Here are some tips to make the most of your siesta:

Get comfortable — Power napping can happen anywhere. Try making use of bus commutes, library breaks, and lunches. You may like quiet environments, or prefer some ambient noise; just find a spot that works for you.

Midday to afternoon is prime-time — Try to finish napping by 4 or 5 p.m., so it won’t interfere with falling asleep later at night.

Set an alarm to prevent oversleeping! — 20 minute naps increase alertness and help with motor learning skills, including playing the piano and typing. 30–60 minutes of rest boosts memory and creativity, for tasks like memorizing vocabulary and solving creative problems. However, avoid oversleeping, as longer naps can increase grogginess!

Find a dim environment — Either find a dark room or use a sleeping mask; sleeping in the dark helps produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes quality sleep.

Soothing sounds — Relaxing music or a boring podcast can help you get into your snooze.

Stay warm — Have a blanket or sweater on hand; your body temperature drops when you sleep.

Consistency is key — Develop a napping schedule, and stick to it.

Napping won’t be able to completely substitute your daily 8 to 10 hours of sleep, but it is an effective temporary solution. The balance of academics to social life to sleep is a big topic to tackle — I could go on about the factors which contribute to the average student’s struggle of maintaining good grades, having friends, and simultaneously sleeping 8 hours a day — but that’s a subject for another blog post. In the meantime, take a break every once in a while, and power nap!

Dream big,

~ Hannah


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