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The Hazards of Napping

I awake bathing in my own sweat, like a slow-cooked pork dish. My hand has made an imprint on my face, and my roommate has been forced to watch my drooling vacant expression while he studies.

I panic and look at my phone, only to discover what I already know. My brief nap has become a 4-hour monstrosity. Gone is my carefully planned afternoon of exercise, work, socialising, and browsing the Internet. Gone are all my hopes and dreams for an orderly and constructive evening, fueled by the renewed vigour and vitality gained from a precise power nap. Instead I awake deep into a sleep cycle that has left me groggy and useless. I face a battle trying to lift myself out of a web of lethargy and painful half-sleep.

Napping is not only an enjoyable activity, but also a wise course of action. But only if you do it right. The 20 Minute nap in the afternoon can provide the necessary energy to work through the evening, and napping is essential for any busy college student straying to balance work, social commitments. Ask any student and they will tell you about the sneaky naps they have taken at various places around campus, even boasting of their ability to procure a sneaky rest in the afternoon.

A full 90-minute nap can be useful because it allows for a full deep sleep schedule. However, this strategy presents some real dangers. The first is the obvious threat of oversleeping.

Many Carls have found their tense and poorly planned 3rd and 4th weeks to be thrown into chaos by an extra-long nap. Instead of waking refreshed and ready, they are lethargic and anxious over the precious time lost.

The 20-minute nap and the 90-minute nap both work because they fit naturally into the average person’s sleep schedule. However, waking at the wrong time means that any energy gained from the nap is lost, due to the fact that awakening mid-sleep cycle is decidedly disruptive. This can happen when one fails to set an alarm, overestimates their fatigue, or simply ignores the alarm.

The even more dangerous threat is the accidental nap. Such incidents have happened to Carls during times of immense strain, or during caffeine withdrawal. You can see them, slumped over couches on 4th library, or in the public lounges, delighting their cohorts with the schadenfreude-inducing prospect of seeing them awakened by a large fine from reslife. Yet others are more private in their affliction, waking up having drooled on their work or cell phone.

These dangers are indeed avoidable if you take the proper precautions. An alarm clock, a well-planned time to coincide with your sleep schedule, and caffeine when you’re studying and throughout the day can prevent the catastrophes mentioned. But sometimes, it’s just up to luck.

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