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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

Helfman: Naps, are they harmful or beneficial?

Imagine you had a terrible night’s sleep. It shouldn’t be too hard for most of us. Are you a napper? Or are you now relegated to a day of stumbling around half-awake? Maybe you’re one of the apparently small group of adults who are capable of taking a nap.  

After talking to family and friends about napping I’ve learned that most adults range somewhere between having a little trouble nodding off, to it’s just never gonna happen. Even though the scientific data on the benefits of napping is still undecided. According to a recent Harvard Medical School article, there may be both harm and benefits in napping on a population level, but it’s “difficult to draw conclusions on the individual level.” Anyone capable of napping seems to be grateful for that ability.  

I know I am. For over a decade, a nap for me was as unlikely as climbing Half Dome free solo. After feeling completely exhausted for every day of my life, I eventually learned to enjoy just simply closing my eyes. It was like sleep pressure would build throughout the day and by closing my eyes, even though I knew I would not be able to fall asleep, I would be able to release enough sleep pressure to make it through the rest of the day. After a certain amount of time I looked forward to just closing my eyes so much, before I knew it, I was a pro-level napper. This ability changed my life. I went from being constantly tired and stressed over my sleep deprivation, to not even thinking about it anymore. 

Everyone has experienced a rough night’s sleep before, and likely, will again. And it’s no secret that sleep deprivation does no favors for the conscious version of you. According to sleep experts at John Hopkins Medicine, “When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is [also] compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection.” 

A quick cat nap can help alleviate these symptoms, according to an article from Cat naps can help reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, improve concentration and memory, and my favorite, better control of emotions.

Through many cultures, and in many parts of the world, that are perhaps more repose enlightened than us here in the States, napping is part of the daily routine. However, there are many of you out there whose daily schedule is so jam-packed that you just can’t imagine slipping a nap in there somewhere. Even with the busiest of schedules, putting aside 15 minutes for daily health and well-being is hopefully achievable for everyone. 

It’s important to note that for people who suffer from chronic insomnia napping can make the problem worse and should always consult a physician. 

The genesis of this story was me noticing how many people (including myself) wrestled with their daily tiredness. Ever since then, I’ve been curious whether people are nappers or not. We here at The Advocate want to hear from you.




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Ilan Helfman
Ilan Helfman, Advocate Staff

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