Columnist discusses the benefit of naps.
By Christopher Liu, ’20.
Life Is Hard
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be stuck in quicksand? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to float aimlessly in outer space? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to sink to the bottom of the ocean? Being trapped is a unique feeling. We sometimes feel overwhelmed. We sometimes feel claustrophobic. We sometimes feel empty. But sometimes, this trap is more figurative than literal. Stress is a figurative trap. When we’re stressed, there is a sense of powerlessness that follows suit. This specific sense of powerlessness can be scary and destroy a person’s sense of meaning and value. Feeling powerless is very dangerous. It can destroy your identity. Life can feel like a trap. It’s scary to believe that you are trapped in a life you are unhappy with. It is scary to drift in an empty space.
There is one trap in particular that I want to talk about. Aside from the pervasive trap of stress, there is also the all-powerful trap of sleep. A discussion of sleep always includes an examination of time, work, and internal clocks. In this case, I want to talk about sleep as a trap people fall into. Specifically, I want to talk about the figurative trap of time.
Tired, Ruined Lives
As an underclassman, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t manage my time well. I did way too many clubs. I also binged way too many TV shows. I remember pulling many late nights for some clubs. I remember blankly staring at my computer screen. I also remember a lot of tossing and turning and extreme irritability to the slightest noise. At some point, I developed insomnia. The days felt like they were way too long. The nights felt like they were way too short. I was somehow able to keep up with classes, but everything started to blur. Days, weeks, and months didn’t seem to matter anymore. My days became an amorphous stretch of time. One day led to another. There were no breaks whatsoever. It was like losing time. And because of this, life was empty. This is the trap of time and sleep. Not sleeping will ruin your life.
Nap It Out
The costs of too little sleep are a serious issue. Problems related to sleep range from depression to serious physical health risks. I believe that naps are the solution to life’s problems. According to a study by the University of Michigan, people were less impulsive and had a greater tolerance for frustration after a one-hour nap. The researcher believed sleeping could give people more distance from an emotional event.
Aside from mood, naps can also improve learning. According to the American Psychological Association, naps can improve performance in areas such as reaction time, logical reasoning and symbol recognition. Recently, I have discovered a newfound love for naps.
I believe that there should be more help for sleep problems in high school. Currently, there’s a lot of awareness for mental health for teens. While I believe we should deal with the issue of mental health, I believe sleep issues are a root of the mental health problem. According to an article from Psychology Today, most college counseling centers have resources for stress management and developing better sleeping habits. The University of Pennsylvania even has Penn Sleep Centers that provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services and treatment for the full range of sleep disorders.
All in all, if you’re having problems in high school, a nap might help.