Nap Nap City
By Elizabeth Trager, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, January 25, 2013
Waking up groggily from my typical mid-day nap in my newly fabulous king-sized bed (did anyone know that two twin XL beds mashed together magically creates a king-sized sleeping heaven?), I am forced to contemplate the age-old question we have all been asking since it was cool to watch “The Land Before Time” — to nap or not to nap?
Truth is, getting enough sleep at college is a rare delicacy, like Beluga caviar or that awesome African Drumming 2A. For me, it is now an unconquerable feat, something I incessantly crave yet never quite achieve. No amount of under-eye cream or emergen-C can ameliorate this ailment, so my schedule has now been forced to bend and stretch to accommodate a delightful afternoon siesta. During this abbreviated hiatus, I subconsciously re-charge, ensuring that there is enough fuel in my human battery to drive me through my many outrageous yet necessary escapades.
Despite the endless, snaking lines that are characteristic at Dartmouth’s caffeine providers, a plethora of students are certified born-again nappers.
For Avery McCann ’15, a successful and productive night-time homework session in a college environment necessitates a mid-day nap.
“I nap during the day because I do most of my homework at night,” McCann said. “After a day of classes I am too burnt out, so I’d rather power up to prepare myself for a long night.”
Other students approach the act of napping from a much more negative standpoint. Associating a snooze with detrimental consequences, these students utilize a variety of techniques to combat droopy eyes and lethargic movements that hit in a mid-day wave.
“I am not a napper at college,” said Martin Anguita ’16. There is no time to nap, and if you have time to sleep it’s because there’s something you’re not doing. I don’t give myself breaks. That’s the best way. As soon as you’re done with something, start the next task.”
Napping creates a vicious cycle, according to Tim Harrison ’16.
“Power through, absolutely,” Harrison said. “I think if you’re feeling it, get coffee, no question. I was once a napper my sophomore year of high school, and it had disastrous effects on my grades. When I was finally able to break it, my grades improved tremendously.”
At the college, however, the non-napper proves to be atypical. For those individuals who rely heavily on their daily naps, there seems to be a consensus that a two-hour nap is ideal, and can be expertly worked into a class schedule.
“Ideal nap time is after class any time, or sometimes even during class,” David Bessel ’15 said. “I have a 9L and a 2 so two hours in between is perfect.”
While students generally concur that their bed is the most highly coveted location for such an experience to occur, others are flexible with their napping locations.
“I usually nap on the couch while watching TV, specifically ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’” Abigail Fucigna ’15 said. “Mid-afternoon is the best time to nap, from 2-3 pm. I think the ideal nap length is half an hour to an hour, because otherwise your body enters into a deep sleep. That’s why I use the couch.”
Because of the unique time during which naps usually occur, many students find that their habits and actions during and after naps are particularly fascinating. Sometimes these dreams can easily be traced to real life experiences, while some are stranger than fiction.
“I had a very realistic dream about me and my friends all chanting ‘nothing matters’ in a frat basement,” Charlie Edler ’15 said. “Also, one time I was arrested by [Baltimore Ravens head coach] John Harbaugh during a nap dream.”
Overall, it would help to be more like ducks; according to the National Sleep Research Project, ducks are able to nap with one half of their brain and remain alert and watchful with the other.
So while I have no definitive answer for all of you out there hesitant to take away some precious awake-time and factor a pleasant siesta into your hectic schedule, my advice is this: turn on Hulu plus, watch “The Office”, and take a nap. No one wants a cranky, sleep-deprived friend cramping their style.