Sleep on it: the power of napping


By Andrew Dinsmoor, Contributor

This is your college-approved guide to napping with details on the best places to take naps on campus. The options are plentiful: the couches on the third floor of Criss Library, the Honor’s Vault, the patch of grass across from CPACS, and even on the couches in the Milo Bail’s Maverick Lounge.

There you will find dimly-lit, quiet areas that are private—but not so private that you need to worry about falling asleep.

If you frequently find yourself drowsy, as I do around 2 p.m., you know that UNO has no “nap map.” We are left to find our own napping locations.

At the University of California at Davis, “nap maps” are part of a serious effort rippling through the campus. At UC Davis, you can even buy a “nap kit.” For $2.75 you get earplugs, an eye mask and a tip card pointing to additional online resources.

The UC Davis “nap movement” has its roots in a seemingly contradictory idea: get a power nap at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. and enhance your day’s focus and productivity. It’s well-known that sleep is essential to body maintenance, mood, cognitive processing and even happiness.

It’s also recommended the average person get eight to 10 hours per night. However, the National Sleep Foundation and the evolving four-year campaign of UC Davis has recently said that in addition to a good night’s sleep, a short nap may boost your abilities and consciousness during the day.

The target time for a power nap is 20 to 30 minutes. The UC Davis campaign targets non-nappers and long-nappers (both equally at risk). Napping too long will disrupt your body’s natural sleep rhythms. You’ll wake up groggy and out of sync, defeating the purpose of the power nap. Also, they’re only effective when used as a supplement to a healthy night’s sleep, not as a replacement or substitute.

Only two other universities have programs geared toward a nap-filled life: Oregon State and San Diego State. The idea is to promote healthy sleep routines to boost academic performance.

Students can always go for a nap but are often reluctant to indulge, especially if they’ve already had a good night’s sleep. But taking leisure in a comfy chair or an open couch may not be such a bad idea. In fact, it may be your route to an A in Organic Chemistry. Not sold yet? Maybe you should sleep on it.