It is 4 a.m. I am currently in my bunk bed curled possessively around my laptop, its hypnotic glow staring into my glazed eyeballs. And all I can think about is how badly I want to be asleep right now.
But I’m not blissfully sleeping, regaining my will to survive another day of college. And I’m blaming this circumstance 100% on napping.
I know, it’s counterintuitive to blame my current lack of sleep on sleeping (sidenote: why does day-sleeping deserve its own fancy name?) but I promise, I have not come upon this conclusion lightly.
I, too, once believed that a good nap was the cure for any bad day and relished in the ability to snuggle between my sheets when the sun was still shining at me through the window. However, after extensive self-observation, I have realized that short stints of sleeping during the daylight hours always land me in this situation: starkly awake at an abominable hour of the morning.
The seemingly restful bliss that a nap promises, in actuality, causes grogginess and irritability for the rest of the afternoon and the following day. So I ask: Are those few hours of reprieve from my near-constant exhaustion worth another whole 24 hours of tiredness?
There is also the question of productivity. I would argue that one probably decides to take a nap to rest and wake up ready to get some shit done. But in reality, when you wake up from your nap, you are sleepy and happy and therefore have no desire to force your brain to drudge through an essay or chemistry equations.
By the time your mind is fully awake — in fact, so awake that you cannot sleep at all — it’s dark, which means it’s time to spend your time watching YouTube videos and conducting extensive deep dives into Instagram.
Thus, you never achieve the level of productivity that you intended your nap to help you achieve. So why nap in the first place when you could simply push through and possibly cure your tiredness with an earlier bedtime?
The seemingly restful bliss that a nap promises, in actuality, causes grogginess and irritability for the rest of the afternoon and the following day.
Although all of this may be true (I grumble as I type) there is something to be said for a good dorm room nap. Something about deciding to nap at two in the afternoon really makes a girl feel like a grown-ass adult. I think to myself proudly, “Look at me making executive decisions and taking care of myself.”
However, I don’t think the gratification from making this decision is worth the intense fatigue and fruitless working condition that results from napping — which is why I have staunchly converted to the anit-nap camp.
In fact, I am so disappointed in napping that I will ignore all of the studies done by sleep doctors that say that napping is good. In fact, I will sneer at those sleep doctors as they try to say that “spontaneous napping does not negatively affect nighttime sleep.” To them, I say baloney! I have proof — the fact that I am definitely not sleeping right now — to prove you all are wrong.
So, I leave you with these thoughts to ponder the next time you entertain the idea of taking a nap. Just remember me, sitting here not sleeping, and maybe you’ll reconsider.
Melanie Ziment is a sleep-deprived hater of daytime napping.
The key is taking a short nap – 30 minutes or less.