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How many times have you heard the phrase “sleep is important?” While most of us wish we could sleep for a consistent eight hours a night, that kind of a schedule isn’t particularly compatible with a flourishing GPA. Over the course of my time at Princeton, I began to realize that this was a very common practice, because let's be honest — there is a lot of work that comes with going to a school like Princeton. At this school, there’s often negligence when it comes to our bodies and sleep. But I’m here to introduce a new method of prospering while still taking care of your body: napping!

P-sets, memo responses, discussion-board posts, and readings take up a majority of our time⁠, and I didn’t even factor in studying for exams and extracurricular activities. Princeton students stay busy! As a junior, I have seen and heard it all when it comes to “self-care.” And don’t get me wrong, I respect and I am grateful for all the information I have received about maintaining my mental well-being. Allocating my time, eating a well-balanced meal, getting seven hours of sleep ⁠— this is all great advice, and I probably would be in a better place if I listened, but in reality, I am not doing all of this. 

And I can guarantee, neither are you. With the amount of work we’re given on a daily basis, there’s just never enough time! We have classes from morning to the late afternoon, and then there’s the extracurriculars⁠ — meetings, rehearsals, practices — that take place in the evening and late-night hours. All that’s left is the nighttime to really begin working. We can try and get some things done throughout the day, but that’s almost never enough. Nighttime ultimately becomes the time when a majority of students get their work done. 

This inspires the question: “When are we supposed to sleep?” Our schedules may prohibit a full night’s sleep, but with naps, we would be able to counter the effects of sleep loss. Although this isn’t a permanent solution, it does well to reignite the brain. Naps can lead to better overall performance and a faster cognitive response. As college students, we often associate working harder with not sleeping, and although we might not be able to reverse the ideology, we can combat it with incorporating naps into our daily routine. 

You can still be able to study and do all you need to do, but this time you’d be taking a healthier approach. I know doctors say we’re supposed to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, but with our schedule, it’s a blessing if we even get four. Adding naps throughout the day will give us that boost of energy we need to stay up during the night.

Our brain needs rest in order to consolidate the information that we learn. With naps, you would not only be able to give your brain a chance to effectively retain information, but give your body a chance to rest. Some people believe that there is only one way to care for your body; that isn’t the case. Everyone is different, and as long as you allocate enough time throughout the day so your body can rest, you can still study at night. Your body never has to “go through it.” It’s about playing smarter, not harder!

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