Young people in the United States are becoming more and more sleep deprived. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) cited a study in which only 15 percent of teenagers reported sleeping eight hours or more on a given night, illustrating the epidemic of exhaustion that is taking place today. A lack of sleep not only affects the mental health of students, but, according to the NSF, also limits the ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems, all of which are functions vital to a successful school day. There is a simple solution to this epidemic. The NSF has cited that short naps (10-30 minutes) are exceedingly beneficial to those who are prone to exhaustion. Research has shown that catnaps enhance performance and reduce mistakes in general activities. Additionally, short naps can have a slew of psychological benefits that can improve the mental health of the modern day teen. Most importantly, a short nap can extend alertness into the day, increasing productivity notably. There is no doubt that short naps are beneficial to students in today’s world.
A short nap in the afternoon can enhance performance a great deal, confirmed by a NASA study showing that a short nap enhanced pilot performance by 34 percent. For students, improved performance can mean the overall increase in concentration and productivity. Moreover, the reduction of mistakes that naps provide creates an opportunity for more accurate homework, leading to a deeper understanding of classroom material. More important than enhanced performance are the psychological benefits of napping. A quick power-nap in the afternoon has been shown to reduce stress, leading to better mental health. Harvard Medical School reported that 90 percent of teens who suffer from depression lack substantial sleep. Short naps can alleviate some fatigue that may affect students with depression. Not only do naps enhance performance and benefit mental health, they also extend hours of alertness later into the day. This means that instead of growing tired and unproductive around six or seven in the evening, a short nap can allow an individual to remain alert and productive until nine or ten at night. With a substantially extended productivity time, students can complete more homework in a much more careful manner, learning and retaining more of it.
There is no doubt that naps are beneficial. The enhanced performance that they allow is useful to people of any occupation. In addition, naps have been shown to improve mental health, which is no small factor in the lives of many students. The extended productivity time that can come with naps is also extremely beneficial to many in today’s fast-paced world. It may be that some individuals look at naps as childish or lazy, but the benefits that accompany them are unquestionable.