Story by Jennifer Gardner
Feel free to take a nap.
They increase cognitive recall ability, and the more one naps, the higher one tests — at least for preschoolers.
According to a study published last Monday by Rebecca Spencer, a University of Massachusetts Amherst cognitive neuroscientist, naps increase people’s ability to recall what they’ve learned at a later time.
While her study focused on preschool children, the findings reinforce data across many sleep studies that naps are beneficial and improve cognitive recall functions.
Sleep deprivation is a common problem on college campuses with people pulling all-nighters to study for tests and then staying out late on the weekends. While not everyone conforms to this schedule, the lines for the Olmsted Coffee Shop in the morning show that plenty of people do.
For sophomore Parker Stinski, naps are an essential part of her daily routine. They help keep her focused and alert for her heavy law politics and society course load.
“I think naps are beneficial because they reenergize you,” Stinski said. “I really like it because in college, you can go to class and come back and take a nap for two hours before your next class. In high school, you had to stay up all day, and late nights of studying could really get to you.”
While naps are beneficial, not everyone has the time to take them regularly. Sophomore Adam Graves said he’s so busy that he rarely gets time to catch up on sleep.
“I feel that naps are very beneficial in college,” Graves said. “I am a busy person, so I normally do not have time for naps, but I wish I did. They help give me a boost of energy.”
Depending on the type of effect desired, there are different lengths of naps. Power naps, which usually last around 15-20 minutes, aid temporary alertness , while hour-long naps usually leave people groggy, but help increase memory recall. Ninety-minute naps let the body travel through an entire sleep cycle and help with creative thinking.
Sophomore Emily Gregor makes use of all of those types of naps because naps are her primary source of sleep.
“I’m not very good at sleeping, so napping is my sleeping,” said Gregor. “When I wake up from a nap, I feel glorious. I feel like if you don’t nap, you’re not doing college effectively. If I’m tired, I take a 15-minute nap, and I’m recharged. It’s like plugging your phone in, but I’m a human.”
Even though Stinski loves her naps, she realizes the importance of going to bed early.
“A lot of people struggle with staying up later because they take naps, but I really don’t,” said Stinski. “I usually go to bed at 11, but sometimes I’ll crash at 9 on really busy days.”
Gregor only has one thing to say to people who don’t nap easily — practice.
“The more often you nap, the better you’ll get at it,” said Gregor. “It’s really not that hard to become an expert napper. My pillows love me, and I love them back. It’s not that difficult.”