Naps: A blessing or a curse?

Ashley Shepard, Staff Writer

It’s that time of year when teachers are cramming assignments in before break and students try to juggle it all while staying sane. But that takes A LOT of energy, and that doesn’t even include extracurriculars, homework, time with family and friends, and keeping a consistent sleep schedule. For many students, they indulge in the occasional (some of us constant) napping. For a long time, napping has been a topic of discussion about whether they are beneficial or not. Many parents don’t allow their kids to nap because of a fear that their sleep schedule with get messed up. However, some parents encourage their kids to nap because kids are growing and need sleep in order to grow.

There are many benefits to napping. Naps improve your working memory. This type of memory is involved in working on complex tasks where you have to pay attention to one thing while holding a bunch of other things in your memory. A 40 minute nap can also increase your alertness, more so than a drink containing caffeine. As most of us can tell, being tired can also affect your mood. The neurotransmitter serotonin regulates our mood, sleep, and appetites. It produces feeling of happiness and well-being. But when our bodies are stressed, higher levels of serotonin are used and the production of more is blocked. As a result, we can become anxious, irritable, depressed, overwhelmed, and easily distracted.

You may be asking yourself, so are there ANY negative affects of taking naps? The answer is yes. Some people simply can’t sleep during the day or have trouble sleeping in places other than their own beds. Napping for a long period of time can actually make you more groggy and tired. Short naps generally don’t affect nighttime sleep quality for most people. However, if you experience insomnia or sleep poorly at night, napping might make these problems worst. Long or frequent naps may interfere with nighttime sleep more so than short naps.

Do you take naps?

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