Can napping help you concentrate?
Students are well known to be sleep deprived, constantly pulling all-nighters to finish papers last minute or study for back-to-back exams. On campus, it’s not unusual to spot sleepy students catching a few minutes of sleep between classes or before they head to work. But does napping actually help students stay alert and focused during school? A study from Australia suggests the answer is no.
The study of 280 university students in Australia found that more than half, 54%, of students napped at least once per week. About 17% of the students were regular nappers, lying down during the day more than three times every week. And of the students who took naps, most slept for more than 30 minutes when they did.
But what are the effects of naps? Do they wake you back up or make you groggier? This research actually found that napping made students feel worse and function more poorly at school. Specifically, students who took naps reported more trouble organizing their thoughts and concentrating than students who didn’t take naps. What’s more, napping students also felt less motivation and had more problems finishing tasks. The students who napped also said they felt more depressed during the day than students who stayed up and only went to sleep at night. Maybe napping isn’t such a good idea after all!
Most of these students said they took naps due to excessive sleepiness during daytime. Interestingly though, the amount of sleep students got at nighttime did not differ between napping and non-napping students. It seems the student who napped simply had a higher need for sleep than those who did not. Poor them!
Judging by this study, it seems like the best thing to do is to know your own body and how much sleep you need. Get as much as possible at nighttime, and power through your day rather than take a sleeping break! You’ll feel better, work harder, and accomplish more. If it’s not humanly possible to get all that work done and get enough sleep at night, let Homework Help USA to take a load off (or two or three).
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Lovato, N., Lack, L., & Wright, H. (2014). The Napping Behaviour of Australian University Students. PLoS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113666