Daytime naps recharge, refresh

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — MU senior Charlie Koors said he doesn’t know how he got through high school without napping.

Fellow MU senior Shane Stinson agrees:  “You just don’t want it to happen in class.”

Both learned the importance of time management and the necessity of napping the hard way. Stinson said he got over-involved his freshman year and realized he needed to focus on the activities he was most passionate about.

“You have to find things that you want to accomplish and focus on that,” he said.

When there’s a free hour in the day, don’t waste it. Use it to study or to take a nap, Koors added.

He naps in the lower level of the MU Student Center, a quiet area that is filled with couches and comfortable chairs.

“The LGBTQ Resource Center has the comfiest couches on campus, and no one will disturb you because it’s secluded,” Stinson said.

The upper level of the Student Center also offers quiet corners and couches, Koors said. His sleep trick: dozing off to Top 40 or cheesy Disney songs. His current favorite is "Beauty and the Beast."

Sleep, even in small amounts, helps improve mood, boosts memory and reduces fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic website. 

"During sleep, your brain creates pathways that allow you to learn and create memories," said Christy Hutton, a psychologist with the MU Counseling Center.

The MU Wellness Resource Center website recommends that students get between 7 ½ and 9 hours of sleep each night. Long-term sleep deprivation can result in moodiness, an inability to cope with stress, memory problems, anxiety and depression, difficulty making decisions and weight gain.

Hutton recommends sleeping in a dark, quiet, cool and safe environment. She said the best way to stay well-rested is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.

She also recommends avoiding alcohol right before bed.

"People often think about alcohol as a sleep aid," she said. "However, consuming alcohol in the evening actually disrupts sleep and prevents a person from getting sound rejuvenating sleep."

Senior Caleb Smith, a chemical engineering major, said his best solution for avoiding sleep deprivation is setting aside time to study on weekends. After a rough round of midterms his freshman year, he said he realized he needed to study more.

“I forced myself to study,” he said.

Around certain midterms and final project deadlines, he estimates he gets between two and four hours of sleep a night. But that only lasts for a few days, he said.

His best advice for incoming freshmen: Make free time for yourself so you don’t get burnt out. Pace yourself.

Smith recommends the couches on the lower level of the Student Union. The engineering building’s lounge, known as "Woo," is also one of his favorite napping spots.

Senior Era Johan, an international student who lives close to campus, said she likes to catch up on sleep in her room because it’s just more comfortable.

Senior Edwin Davis, a classical humanities major, said he alternates his naps between the Student Center and the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center.

“The pillows are so soft, you put your head on it and you might as well just go to sleep because you’re not getting up,” he said about the lounge at the Black Culture Center, located a block and a half from the Student Center.

Davis said there’s no shame in napping.

“If you run out of steam, just take a nap,” he said. “We all do it.”

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