Study shows napping improves health, productivity

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

If your grades are dropping to Bs or Cs, chances are you are not getting enough Zs.

In the 2004 National College Health Assessment survey, sleep difficulties were identified as the second-most common reason why students perform poorly or ultimately drop out of school.

In fact, a recent study by the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., estimates that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleeping disorders.

Napping, however, can help.

Jake Box, a sophomore in economics, said that without taking small naps, he could not manage both summer school and a 32-hour-per-week job.

“I usually nap during any free time that I have to rest,” said Box, who works as a room service host for the Little America Hotel. “If not, I would be nodding back and forth all day.”

Naps are beneficial to those who are sleep deprived, Marci Cleary, spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation, said in a written statement.

NSF stated, “Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents.”

Nathan Blair, a senior in history, said that because he consumes caffeine, he relies on constant naps to stay awake during the day.

“I usually prefer to nap at home, but the soft couches in the library help mid-studies,” Blair said.

Full-time jobs, summer classes and a busy social life seem to be the top reasons students become sleep deprived, Blair said.

“Students are working so much that studying takes the place of sleeping at night,” said Blair, who works a 30-hour per week job.

Napping too much, however, can be dangerous if you want to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

NSF recommends taking 20 to 30 minute naps, preferably in the afternoon. Napping longer or later in the day can throw off normal sleeping patterns.

For more information about sleep difficulties or professional help, contact SHAC at (801) 581-6431 or Utah Valley Mental Health at (801) 263-7225.