The effects of napping at uni
A nap can be really enjoyable. It’s a quiet escape from the rest of the world and a chance to recharge your batteries ready for the rest of the day. Sometimes they can be really beneficial, other times less so.
If you’re thinking of getting your head down for a few minutes or a longer stretch while at uni, here’s what you need to know.
The positive effects of napping
There can be plenty of positive effects from napping regularly. These include:
- Enhancing performance with your work and reducing mistakes.
- Increasing alertness in the period immediately after the nap and even prolonging this later on into the day.
- Psychological benefits in the form of relaxation and rejuvenation – a nap in the middle of the day is seen by many as a little treat.
The negative effects of napping
Unfortunately, there are some negative effects of napping too. These include:
- Increasing the chance of sleep inertia – the feeling of grogginess and disorientation when you wake up from a deep sleep.
- Impacting your sleep at night-time – napping for too long, too late in the day can negatively affect the length and quality of your sleep when it really counts.
How long can sleep inertia last?
For most people sleep inertia only lasts for a few minutes and normally no longer than 30 minutes. For others it can be more severe and often lasts longer if you’re generally sleep deprived or if you nap for too long.
Essential student tips for napping
If you want the treat in the middle of the day and desire all the positive effects of napping, here are our essential tips for student naptime.
- According to one medical study, the optimum length of your nap should be just 10 minutes – it is said to have the most benefit in terms of reduced sleepiness, the least chance of sleep inertia, and the biggest impact for enhancing performance immediately after and later in the day.
- Napping in a quiet and dark room, in familiar surroundings will be your best bet as you want to be able to drift off quickly without being disturbed – your bedroom in your student house or halls of residence is a better choice than the lounge.
- If you nap too late in the day this can increase the negative effects – naps after 2pm or 3pm should be discouraged.
- To aid performance and alertness on an ongoing basis, it is important to practice habitual napping, at the same time, in the same place.
- To boost your performance or cope with being up later than your normal bedtime on an ad hoc basis you should practice planned napping – this is napping before you actually get tired but planned specifically to give you the benefit later on in the day.
- Emergency napping is when you suddenly become tired and can’t continue what you were doing previously – this is usually the case when driving and needing to stop.
Naps can be great, and your bed is often very inviting at uni – just make sure you stick to the rules to become a napping natural without it messing up your sleep schedule or uni performance.
Make your university bedroom cosier and read our blog here on how to make it a home away from home.