Ask Dr. SHAC – Sleeping vs. napping

Dear Dr. SHAC,
It’s midterm season, and you know what that means — books to read, papers to write, and countless hours in the library. The problem is no matter how hard I try, it seems like I don’t have enough hours in the day. I’m only in a few clubs and I’m already down to one ‘real’ meal a day, so the only thing left is to cut out sleeping. I know it’s bad but I have a foolproof plan that is sure to work. Instead of sleeping eight hours a day, I will take a few 30-minute power naps and top it off with some coffee in the morning. Do you think this could work?
Sleepily,
Drowsy Drew

Dear Drowsy Drew,
I know midterms are tough, but one should never sacrifice sleep to get in more hours of studying. Sleep deprivation can be a serious problem. Along with that tired feeling, sleep deprivation can increase one’s chance of contracting diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, depression, obesity, and many other illnesses. Not sleeping also hinders your learning abilities, so if you don’t sleep you can’t commit new information to memory as efficiently. You also worsening your cognitive skills and writing ability over time. As for your nap idea, you need to think about your REM cycles. They must be continuous, as they sequence each other and add up to a good night’s sleep. Naps can’t do this for you because there is not enough time to get through all the cycles. So Drew, I understand you are concerned about school, but cutting out sleep is one of the worst things you can do! Instead, try scheduling out your time in blocks, giving yourself a half hour here and there to get a bite to eat or surf the web. No one can study for hours on hours without sleep, nourishment, and a little recreation.

Hope this helps, and remember – SHAC’s got your back!

Feel free to submit comments and questions for Dr. SHAC to answer!
Email submissions to nekpa@fandm.edu.

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