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To nap or not to nap? Sleep tips for Concordians

As midterms approach, here's how to curb the urge to snooze
February 1, 2018
By Gabriella Szabo, Health Services


This time of year, it's tempting to hit the sack for a quick nap between study sessions.

Ignoring your need for rest can be unhealthy, but so can napping at the wrong times or in uncomfortable places. Knowing how to manage your sleep can help you be a more successful student, especially in the busiest parts of the term.

The science of napping

To quote Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, it’s “supremely arrogant” to think that we can abandon four million years of evolution and try to get by on less sleep.

Naps can be very helpful, if used wisely, but aim to fit them within these parameters:

  • Keep them brief. Twenty to 60 minutes is optimal.
  • Avoid napping too close to bedtime. A nap can improve alertness, but you don’t want it to interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
  • Don’t nap while you're in class, at work, at the library, etc.

It is better overall to get your sleep at bedtime.

Some workplaces that implemented nap rooms — a trendy strategy a few years back — have since taken them out because they negatively affected employees' daytime productivity.

Furthermore, sleep deprivation affects creativity, which is a critical part of being a student — constantly solving problems, innovating and so on.

So let's revisit the tried-and-true basics of sleep...

3 sleep essentials

  • Most adults need seven or eight hours of sleep. Yes, that's per night.
  • You deserve sleep and the amazing benefits it confers on your health and academic success. Creating good habits and learning to prioritize your sleep begins with having the right attitude.
  • Defend your sleep! Use strategies proven to improve sleep quality and quantity — establish a sleep routine, and ban screens from your bedroom. Have a look at this complete list of sleep strategies from Concordia's Health Services.

Keen to learn more? Check out Gabriella Szabo's healthy sleep tips for successful Concordia students.

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