Naps: substitute for sleep deprivation

By Christopher Rogers
February 24, 2005

Shane Evans

Do you rely on napping as a means for catching up on sleep? Amongst college students, hectic schedules and late-night socializing are common inducers of poor sleep hygiene. But how serious can this be? Students are clenched to the notion that youth means invincibility and that sleep deficits are simply cured by short afternoon naps. Unfortunately, the answer is more severe.

According to licensed clinical social worker, Kallie Parkinson Coles, people have four sleep cycles, which outline the entity of a good night’s rest. Starting from first to last, one will enter a stage of drowsiness, followed by a lighter sleep then a deeper one. The final step, otherwise known as the REM sleep, remains the most important of the four cycles. During such a time, the body enters four to five time frames of deep sleep, each approximately 90 to 120 minutes in duration.

But what does this have to do with afternoon napping? Studies have shown that one’s natural clock, or circadian cycle, works in accordance with daylight. By napping during the day, one is denying their body from one REM cycles, essential for a good night’s rest, “By napping, the body is constantly trying to reset itself to its original cycle. Further sleep deprivation can cause serious disorders,” said Coles.

For instance Acute Insomnia can result from daytime naps. Unlike Chronic Insomnia, symptoms include troubles falling asleep and/or awakening during the night with incapability’s of falling back asleep. Though other factors such as stress and depression may cause Acute Insomnia, students with poor sleep hygiene are at risk of such disorder.

According to computer major, Alberto Davila, chronic sleep deprivation and afternoon naps have caused much trouble in his daily life, “Every night is the same thing. I can’t fall asleep. When I do, it’s almost time to get ready for class. This is really annoying cause I’m tired all day long and can’t seem to concentrate on anything.” Similarly to Davila, an estimated 30 percent of Americans suffer from sleep disorders of this kind. To help prevent disorders from aggravation, sleep hygiene management has deemed effective. For instance, according to Coles, using a bed for occurrences other than sleep may induce the brain into thinking it’s a leisurely environment opposed to a sleeping one.

“Don’t do anything else in bed other than sleep. By doing so, your brain will recognize the correlation between bed and it’s original purpose; sleep,” said Coles. “Other ways are as simple as turning your clock around or refraining from exercising 4 to 5 hours before going to sleep.”
Though teatments of this nature have been helpful for minor cases of sleep disorders, more severe cases, such as Narcolepsy, Apnea and Chronic Insomnia, may require medical attention. For more information or assistance visit the counseling services located in Grace Hall.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Christopher Rogers

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