Catching your Zzz’s

It’s 2 A.M. in the morning before the exam, and you still have got 1.5 chapters to cover.

Or, so you think.

But it’s all about believing in yourself at this point. So you try to motor through. Try to be the master of your body and mind. Try to silence the internal screaming of every sinew of your being. They will not fail you. You did not raise them to be such cowards. You did not skip your dinner, almost miss your roll call and a lofty fine to give into sleep.

Sleep is for the weak.

*Buzz* *Buzzz* *Buzzzzz*

Lids as heavy as lead, you squint at the profile of your glowing phone from your position on your book-turned-pillow. You turn it over.

Gasp! It’s an hour to the exam. And the page hasn’t turned since you gave yourself the mental pep talk.

You go through the five stages of grief in the span of half-an-hour. Only, you are grieving about your future. Eventually, you resign to acceptance.

Acceptance, of a fate of flipping burgers. Not a good thought. Stomach rumbling and feet dragging, you reach the hall to give another mediocre test that will attest to a mediocre future.

Sleep deprivation. Synonymous to academic life in college, for many.

The dregs of sleep-deprivation are notorious for sneaking their way into lectures. Almost like the professor’s droning dubs as incantations to summon drowsiness. Sometimes, when you’ve gone days on end without sleep, *cough* exam season *cough*, it is possible that you may microsleep. You are rendered unconscious for the briefest of periods; sometimes, drifting in and out of it. And it’s like a piece of the puzzle that is your wakeful life, is gone forever. Scary, ain’t it?

How you wish the sleepless nights were because you had an active social life. Sigh.

You’re always in two minds about sleep, though. While it does offer you an escape from reality and helps fast-forward life, at times, it can deter you from enjoying things too. ‘Things’, here, being the aforementioned indulgence in a night life. One that can also be lived vicariously in the virtual world, challenging the sleep laws of human physiology. Living life a little dangerously, one meme at a time, right? Right? …Moving on.

Nothing is more enticing than a good nap, in my books. A habitual napper myself, I always look forward to my post-class nap, almost to the point of planning my day around it, with no compromise.

Now, naps are usually frowned upon for they are misunderstood beings. There are a few myths surrounding them, as reason.

Naps are for the unambitious ones with little to no standards. It surely couldn’t have been you buried in the sheets, when you could have used the valuable time at your dispense to expand your knowledge outside of textbooks. Naps are for children. It wasn’t you who threw a tantrum last night, over your favourite character’s death, crying yourself to sleep. Naps are for the lazy. Pfft, that couldn’t have been you in class, writing your assignment due for the same.

Busting these myths, it has been proven that naps can be beneficial, too. It acts as a little boost to your deteriorating body through the day, without sending you into hives like coffee might. Like a pleasant awakening in the middle of your routine. It’s better than any medication. If you want to save yourself from any further mortifying missteps, naps can do wonders to keep you steady on your feet, later on.

But naps extending into sleep territory, may leave you waking up groggy with sleep inertia. There may be days when a slip in your resolve leads to a nap late in the night during regular weekdays, messing up your sleep cycle and the day to come. But the times when it does pan out for the better, with a fantastic dream or if you are lucky, a creative idea even, you feel more energized than ever.

Scientifically, it’s best if these naps are limited to a window of 10-30 minutes in the afternoon, when our mechanisms go to a lull. But we like to live life on the edge and push the limits.

And naps are easy to take, too. Best prescribed for the following situations. Feeling exhausted? Take a nap. That’s called emergency napping. Need to be refreshed for later? Take a nap. That’s planned napping. Got an assignment to do? Take a nap. That’s… well.

Staying on top of things is always the best way to keep sleep-deprivation and it’s ill-effects at bay. But life happens, and while a good night’s sleep is always the best solution, let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two, shall we?

Deeksha Venkatesh

 

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