For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display screen shot 2016 10 17 at 10.34.53 am
Oct 17 2016
by Mia Renee Cole

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Most Effective Nap

By Mia Renee Cole - Oct 17 2016

Napping is super important in college. In fact, some might even consider it an art form. It takes a lot of work and pre-planning to get the perfect, most effective nap, and Fresh U is here to help. We understand just how important a daily nap can be for an exhausted college student and we want to make sure everyone is well rested. Read on for some hacks in a step-by-step guide on napping in college.

1. Choose Where to Nap

One of the most beautiful things about napping in college is the fact that it’s socially acceptable to nap literally anywhere. Although my favorite place to snooze is the cheap futon in my dorm, there are plenty of other places around campus that are great to catch some shut-eye. Some of these more popular places include larger, comfier chairs in the library, the quad or a grassy area on campus or a comfy bench in a secluded hall.

2. Decide How Long to Nap

The amount of time you actually spend asleep is crucial to your success for the rest of the day. If you’re looking just to boost your energy and productivity level, a quick 20 minute nap will do the trick. If you need a bit more sleep to make up for the all-nighter you pulled the night before, a 90 minute nap should get you full an entire sleep cycle, helping you feel more refreshed. also noted that a 90 minute nap has shown to boost memory and creativity. Keep in mind that a nap any longer than 20 minutes and any shorter than 90 will have you waking up feeling groggy since you slipped into a deep sleep without completing a full cycle.

3. Set Some Kind of An Alarm

The best advice my grandma has ever given me has had to do with napping. She suggested trying to nap while sitting up in a chair (which is surprisingly easy when you’re exhausted 24/7) while holding something in your hand like a pen or pencil. Once you fall asleep and your body fully relaxes, your hand will drop the pencil and this sudden movement will wake you up. This takes roughly 20 minutes. If you don’t want to rely on a natural alarm clock, though, setting a digital alarm is crucial. You can keep it simple and set a timer to go off after 20 minutes, or try out sleeping apps. My favorite napping alarm happens to be the Sleep Cycle Power Nap app which is the sister to the popular Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Much like its companion, it will wake you up either before you fall into deep sleep or after you’ve finished an entire cycle - the choice is yours. You just have to pay a small $1.99 for it in the app store and keep in lying on your bed (or wherever you are) while you’re sleeping. 

4. Pick the Best Napping Position

Contrary to what I just said, studies have found that lying down is the best way to get the most beneficial sleep. If you can’t lie down, try to get in the most comfortable position possible. This allows your body to remain relaxed and keeps you from getting cramps while sleeping, or waking up from simply being uncomfortable.

5. Meditate to Fall Asleep Easily

Meditation isn’t all about sitting up in a rigid position while humming under your breath. It can simply be deep breathing and, well, counting your sheep. Sometimes it can be challenging to fall asleep in the middle of the day when you have so many other things jumping around in your mind. Getting comfortable and (again, advice from Grandma) taking deep, conscious breaths can really help your heart rate slow. Sometimes it helps to place your hands over your stomach and feel it rise and fall as your breathe. Another great method is to tense your body and then relax it - starting with your toes and working your way up, and back down again. Don’t let your wonderful nap be disturbed before it even begins.

6. Nap

This is a very important step in order to finish your nap.

7. Wake Up and Actually Get Up

This is always my biggest struggle. I have a problem of continuously hitting snooze so that what was supposed to be a quick power nap ends up turning into two hours of sleep. I find this to be a problem only when I’m in my own room, however. It helps to nap in a public place or in between classes, so you’re actually forced to wake up. If not, put your phone/alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get up from your napping spot to turn off your alarm. A nap isn’t effective if you - well - don’t stop napping.

When I first started college I thought napping was lame and overrated. Then I discovered just how helpful it could be in my productivity levels during the day. Napping can be super helpful, but only when done right. Hopefully these tips help you and will aid you in perfecting the art of napping.

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Mia Renee Cole - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mia Renee is currently the Senior Editor with Fresh U and a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying Spanish and French. In her free time she enjoys knitting, photography and drinking hot tea while writing on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @miareneecole or her blog at!

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