It took my friends and I less than a month at university to realise that there is only one possible way to get through a jam-packed day of lectures, society meetings and late nights out on the town. That is to doze off whenever we get the opportunity, in order to recharge our batteries. Despite seeming to do us all good, that cheeky little snooze before dinner is always accompanied by a slight feeling of guilt, for wasting precious hours of the day or indulging in a pastime that should really be reserved for toddlers alone! However, to ease our consciences, researchers have recently been publishing work claiming that napping is actually good for you.
Studies carried out at The City University of New York suggest that afternoon napping can aid factual learning – very useful around exam time then!
Volunteers were asked to memorise pairs of words and were then tested on them later in the day. Some of the volunteers were allowed to take a nap and others were not. Results showed that nappers scored 15% better on average, supporting the scientists’ predictions that whilst sleeping their brains would be able to begin consolidating information and committing it to memory. This is good news, as all those facts and theories you’ve been bombarded with today need to be stored somewhere in your brain until at least January!
What’s more, earlier this year Dimitrios Trichopoulos from the Harvard School of Public Health published the results of investigations, which imply that napping may also improve the health of your heart. Out of 24,000 healthy volunteers aged between 28 and 86, those who took regular naps were shown to have a 37% reduced risk of heart disease compared to their non-napping counterparts. Napping has been shown to reduce stress hormones in the body, so leaving you calm and refreshed when you awake, as well as keeping your ticker healthy and strong!
We students aren’t the only ones at it either; in the midday Mediterranean sun the Spaniards have been taking siestas for centuries. In fact power napping has become a bit of a craze all over the world. Most schools in China now have a regular nap period incorporated into their day, and many Japanese offices even go as far as providing their employees with a special napping room.
So when your bed is calling to you on the way home from lectures, embrace the knowledge that you could be about to de-stress, possibly memorising a few facts at the same time, and catch those forty winks while you can!