By Samantha Schaeffer
Just like any college student would be, today I got one of those rare, sacred emails, telling me that my STAT class was canceled for the day. UTTER JOY. I immediately went back to my room, with every intention of getting ahead on my reading for THEA 100. But as I sat at my desk, staring at David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, I heard a noise–a siren call. My bed was talking to me. It was saying, “Take a nap…you know you want to.” And I did; I sincerely wanted nothing more than to get in my bed, at 2 PM, and sleep.
I’ve never been the napping type. When I was younger, the only reason I got away with skipping my daily naps was because my mother knew I would sleep through the night. I slept through the night at two weeks; compared to my brother, who was still up once a night by the time he was five, I was a godsend. In middle school, I didn’t get out of school until 3:40 PM, and there was Hebrew School, homework, sports and other activities to attend to; by the time I ate dinner and showered, it was time for bed anyway. In high school, I was a two season athlete, so Field Hockey and Lacrosse kept me at school until 6 PM most nights, and I was very much the night owl by then, leaving my homework until 10 PM to start and not thinking twice if that meant staying up until 1 AM to finish.
When I got to college, this sleep cycle only got more hectic, with meetings that didn’t start until 10 PM some nights and classes and clubs that made my schedule different from day to day. And though I had many friends who went home between classes and longed much more for a nap than to eat lunch, I didn’t see the point. Why go to bed now if I have to be in class in two hours?
And then, the inevitable happened: I pulled my first college all-nighter. It was during the fall of this year, the last week of classes. Somehow my schedule had worked out that I didn’t have ANY finals during finals week, but four finals during the last week of classes, which left me studying for the exams while completing usual homework and going to class. By Wednesday, I was completely fried. I’d been up until 4 AM studying on Monday night (Tuesday morning, really) and never actually made it to bed on Tuesday night. As I [deliriously] headed home from my Biology exam, I knew there was no way I was making it through to Thursday without a few minutes to myself. I set my alarm before my door was even unlocked, and climbed onto my bed, not even bothering to get under the covers–I was just resting my eyes, anyway.
Cut to 7 PM—I HAD SLEPT FOR THREE HOURS. I jumped from bed, the picture of a worried college student, all but crying as I processed the hours I had just spent sleeping instead of studying for the two exams I was scheduled to take the next day. But as I stopped to throw on my shoes and gather my books to head to the library, I realized something: I felt FANTASTIC. I was still tired, sure, but my body felt better than it had in days, and I didn’t have that foggy, deep-sleep-coma feeling I always thought I would if I took a nap in the middle of the day.
I was converted, realizing what nursery school teachers and college students alike had known for much longer: naps are not the enemy!
And so, today as I sat at my desk, M. Butterfly waiting, open in my lap, I gave in. I got in bed, and I slept my little heart out. It was the most satisfying hour and a half of my whole day. Though I don’t know that I’ll ever make up for those naps I skipped as a child, the fact remains: next month, as I plan my schedule for Fall ’10, there may very well be a nap time worked in between COMM 471 and PSYCH 412.