Sleepy Times

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Hey there Choctaw Fanz, Andrew here with a blog about how to sleep like a boss.

One of my little quirks is that I love to sleep. I think it may be genetic because my aunt lists napping as one of her hobbies when she fills out surveys. I try to take a nap everyday. I think my fascination with sleep began when I was in the eighth grade and did a science report on the sleep cycle, REM phase, etc. As a part of this project, my family obtained a sound machine that played ambient noises and tested whether or not it helped us fall asleep. 

When I got to college, my sleep pattern grew irregular very quickly. I found myself staying up late most nights and then rising early to meet the next day of classes and activities. Benjamin Franklin said, "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." I flipped the scenario and was headed for adverse results. My mom warned me to "not burn the candle at both ends." ("Whatever that means," I thought.)

Eventually my nearly nocturnal habits caught up with me. I remember one spring afternoon, I was particularly tired in the afternoon. I was in Bennon Hodges' room in New Men's Residence Hall and felt the weight of the week on my shoulders. Bennon sensed that I wasn't wearing my normal pleasant disposition and asked if I was sick. I told I was just tired and wanted to take a nap.

He jumped into action and began making the room optimal for daytime sleeping. He drew the curtains, passed me a blanket, turned on rainymood.com and a virtual fireplace. Bennon left the room and I drifted into a peaceful sleep. I woke up slightly confused at the artificial cozy environment, but I was so refreshed and appreciative of Bennon's thoughtful selflessness.

I realize that this might sound ridiculous to some, but the idea of an afternoon nap revolutionized my college experience. Sleeping for even a little bit in the daytime balanced my often truncated night hours and allowed for me to be more productive. Here are a few pro-tips on how to optimize your sleep experience:

  • Frequency. Practice makes perfect. Taking a nap everyday establishes a rhythm for your life. Consistency matters, especially with the wild, college schedule.
  • Darkness.  I like to sleep in a pitch black room (preferably). Dark curtains can help you achieve this setting at any time of day. I also like sleep masks that block light if your roommate needs to study in the room and leave the lights on.
  • Sound. Ambient noise can be soothing and help you relax so you can fall asleep faster. Bennon introduced me to rainymood.com. It's like a thunderstorm in your room. Robby Followell introduced me to noisli.com. It allows you to mix and personalize individual ambient sounds. My roommate, Cole, likes to keep it simple and run a fan in the room. I'm not above using earplugs to block out noise if my hall mates are being noisy.
  • Commitment. When you go to sleep, stay asleep. Don't keep your phone next to your bed, or else you'll be distracted and spend more time on the screen than sleeping. Also, don't worry about missing out on things around you. Sometimes, you just need to take a nap for your health and sanity. Take care of yourself.

So there you have it: the importance of sleeping. My dad likes to say, "In college, 2 AM is the new midnight." He's not wrong. I stay up late almost every night, but I'm learning to balance it with the power of the nap. I hope that you'll take this advice and take care of yourself by taking a heavenly nap.

Sweet dreams,

Andrew Wilson, Sleep Doctor, Ph. Z.

PS: It's actually that time of year to sign-up for housing! If you haven't gotten your housing squared away, take care of that online now! 

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