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A small break can make a big difference

Angie Nava
Features Writer

Welcome to college; a land where classes assign plenty of essays, textbook readings and tests which can make or break students. Along with academics, many students participate in sports, organizations, and have jobs in addition to schooling. While all of these activities are important, they soak up time that students have to themselves.
As work piles up, many students may find themselves shortening their sleep schedules so that they may fit as much work as possible into one day. However, that could actually cause the student to do less work than they potentially could. It may sound counterproductive, but taking a short nap could increase the rate of speed that a person works. Here’s a few reasons to incorporate more sleep into college life.

Napping for only an hour can improve short-term memory and enable a person to learn and retain facts much easier.
Napping for only an hour can improve short-term memory and enable a person to learn and retain facts much easier.

1.) It Makes People Smarter
A study conducted in the University of California by Dr. Matthew Walker concluded that napping for only an hour can help improve short-term memory and enable a person to learn and retain facts much easier.
2.) Avoid All-Nighters
Sacrificing sleep to cram all the info in the night before the test can actually reduce learning ability by up to 40%. However, if it is the only option left, try what is known as a prophylactic nap. It’s a short nap that’s taken before sleep deprivation, and can keep a person awake for up to 10 hours. A twenty-minute nap is recommended.
3.) It’s Natural to be Sleepy After Lunch
Humans actually go through two spells of sleepiness throughout the day. The first one is between 2 a.m and 4 a.m. and the second one is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Taking a nap between these times could be for the best! In fact, it was part of ancient Roman culture, and their empire lasted a thousand years!
4.) Short Naps are Better
Sometimes all a young adult needs is a ten or twenty minute nap to feel refreshed. They’re also perfect for students who are always on tight schedules! Naps that run over 45 minutes risk giving the person sleep inertia which is the groggy feeling people get after sleeping. And face it, no one’s going to be getting any work done feeling like that.

It only takes 10 -20 minutes of napping for a young adult to feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.
It only takes 10 -20 minutes of napping for a young adult to feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

5.) Try Drinking Coffee Before a Nap
Caffeine takes about twenty minutes to start working. Rest a little after having a cup, and feel the kick after waking up.
6.) NASA Naps
NASA ran the numbers and discovered precisely that a 26-minute nap can increase performance by 34%, and alertness by 54%. Airplane pilots take advantage of these NASA naps when they’re flying on autopilot.
7.) Fights Weight Gain
To those who are worried about piling on the freshman 15, beware. Research shows that people who sleep a total of five hours are 32% more likely to experience weight gain. People between the ages 18 and 24 need lots of rest and it could be harmful if someone within that age bracket does not get the hours recommended. Seven hours is the minimum amount of sleep that college students should be getting a night.
8.) Time it Wisely
Some might think that taking a nap might not be the best option because then they’ll have trouble falling asleep when it’s time to go to bed. The best way to avoid that is to wake up from the nap five hours before going to bed.
9.) Driving while Sleepy
Commuters! People often forget that not everyone lives on campus. Sometimes commuters even stay a while after classes and drive the long journey back home at night. Don’t be afraid to take an emergency nap on the side of the road like many tractor trailer drivers do. As many as 100,000 fatalities happen every year from people falling asleep behind the wheel.
10.) Sugar is not a Good Substitute
People who are tired often reach for a sugary snack in hopes that it will shake off any drowsiness. However, those snacks have a high glycemic index and can leave the person even more tired than they were before once the sugar wears off.
Among college students, sleep tends to be more put off out of worry of not completing an every daily task, but try to remember: a small break can make the difference.