On Napping

I noticed that despite this blog being called “Musings of an Addled Mind” there haven’t been too many musings outside of books as of late. So, today, I decided to give my thoughts on sleep.

Sleep is great. No one can really deny this fact.

I’ll admit that through most of my time up til’ after high school, I didn’t like the idea of sleep. Or rather, I didn’t like the idea of napping. There are only 24 hours in a day and I never felt like spending anything outside of the obligatory 8 hours of sleep needed to function on a daily basis. Through headaches, insomnia and the general tiredness of a day’s activities, I more often than not decided against napping.

My family felt differently about this however. No one would ever hesitate to take a nap if they felt they needed it. My sister is known to spend a good half a day sleeping without batting an eye (which I don’t know how she does it. I feel guilty any time after 10am, no matter how much sleep I had beforehand). I would often get teased my anti-nap stance. When weighed down by fatigue they would always suggest a nap which, with some odd stubbornness, refused. I guess I never really outgrew that phase when I equated sleep to the ending of fun.

But since I am now a college student, my perceptions on naps have changed considerably. After freshman year, I took an average of 17 credit hours each semester. That might not sound like much but according to most of my teachers, every hour of class should be met with a good two or three hours of study outside of class. This isn’t true for all of the classes that I’ve taken (like seriously, how can you spend two hours studying for a speech class) but being an English and History major means that that good chunk of time is dedicated to reading or writing papers. I can remember a number of times where I stayed up late into the night putting the finishing touches on an essay or binge reading a novel/article that I have somehow neglected to that point. Sometimes I lay awake the night before, worrying myself to death about all the things I have to do for the week. If I’m worried enough, my anxiety about all my assignments seep into my unconscious while I’m dreaming (one time, I had a weird dream about the rooster story in Canterbury Tales).

On top of this, I got a job on campus that required me to stay up at really odd hours. While most of the world was sleeping around 3am, I served faithfully as gatekeeper of a residence hall keeping an eye out for any strange characters (or the college students who get drunk during the week). Though this job doesn’t require much of me outside of a constant eye, the trouble came in keeping these eyes open. I had to supplement my sleep in different ways on any given day. Sometimes I worked from 12-3am and have six hours to sleep before my first class. Sometimes I worked from 3-7am and only manage to get an hour before my 9am class. It doesn’t help that I feel like I need to wake up a good hour or two before my classes so I know I have the right amount of time.

I am very time conscious. I have the weirdest obsession with time because it is both the boon and bane of my existence. I love keeping track of it and knowing how much I have left for the day (this accounts for my obsession with clocks). At the same time, I am very conscious of how much time I’m wasting or the time I lost. One of the worst feelings I have is waking up 20 minutes before I’m supposed to because I can feel each minute ticking away as I try to fall back asleep. After a certain point, it’s just agony and I get up inexplicably more tired than I would have otherwise felt.

With all these factors, I had to reassess my position on napping. I could go on like I did for a while, feeling an odd pressure around my eyes as I kept hallucinating in every dark corner or I could function like a real human being. Since I needed to maintain my sanity for essays and exams, the choice was obvious.

I now have a deeper appreciation for naps and sleep in general. Though I could never waste a day lazing comfortably on my bed, I’m much more willing to revisit it if the urge should come.


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