The first thing that every public napper should know: it’s not a shameful thing. Many college students are victims of late night homework, tight class schedules, Netflix addictions, and other common occurrences that lead to little sleep and even less time to get to your dorm room. You know what that means – a lot of public naps. Sometimes you can’t help it when the slumber hits; that blue sofa in DeBart becomes a magic carpet ride to Dreamville and the private wooden corner bench in Jordan can make you melt with a North Face coat comforter. Yes, I am speaking from experience. However, there are many factors you should take into consideration if you want to catch the Z’s you need and look relatively normal doing it in the publicity of your own snoozefest.
Choose your spot carefully. As a general rule – the farther you are from a bathroom or door, the better. Drafts and dumpy odors are two things you must avoid at all costs. That said, don’t judge a spot before you’ve tried it.
If you are a light sleeper, the more private the better. If you have no choice but to brave the crowds, try to keep your body facing a wall. This easy game of hide-and-no-seek allows you extra time to wipe the drool off your face in private before rolling into your next class. This may go without saying, but this way you’ll also be unidentifiable when avid Snapchat users post your unconscious self to their “My Story.” Don’t be that starfish kids with their limbs spilling over the chair and their mouth wide open – unless you prefer to live dangerously. (Note: the pictures in this article are real. Some of us *cough, Jacklyn Cooney* do like to live dangerously and some of us *cough, Hayley Hoffmann* are not afraid to document.)
Consider your comforter options. The human body lowers in temperature as it falls asleep, and laying down with too little or too much heat can ruin your nap before you’ve even closed your eyes. In the winter, keeping on that beanie or hat helps keep your body temperature conducive for midday snoozes. Also remember that whatever you place your face on will not leave when you wake up. That beautiful quilted pattern on your down jacket or the charm bracelet you were too tired to take off can quickly become the gift that keeps on giving. To avoid face tattoos, try to carry an extra hat or scarf – anything soft that doesn’t have very definitive lines – to serve as your foolproof pillow buffer.
Invest in headphones and a method for covering your eyes. Drawing your sweatshirt over your face hides your identity, while at the same time the darkness it provides to your senses actually increases your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a very important hormone produced from the pineal gland in your brain that regulates sleep and wake cycles. The body naturally begins to produce more melatonin when the sun goes down; an environment you can simulate simply by keeping your eyes covered.
Headphones can aid the simulation of a quiet sleep environment too. Blocking off your ear canals from random, obnoxious bystanders (why everyone doesn’t sleep between classes is a mystery, I agree) is beneficial, or you may choose to listen to pre-sleep music to unwind. Relax Melodies and Zen 24/7 Relaxing Music are two iPhone apps ideal for those moments when you can’t shake the pre-test nerves or ignore the girl laughing hysterically down the hall. Relax Melodies features a large variety of calming and soothing sounds, everything from white noise to a rustling campfire in the woods, available to play independently or become part of a customized mix. If you start dreaming of bears or don’t like the idea of night under the stars, Zen 24/7 Relaxing Music has a similar list of anti-stress channels available to listen to that were specifically designed with power naps in mind. Both options can assist even the most restless of sleepers find their inner peace, with or without bears.
With all this in mind, don’t forget to set a phone alarm or have a friend wake you up before your next time commitment. Customizing your alarm with the name of your next destination can help keep you on track, and give yourself a little extra time if you tend to have very vivid dreams and need to readjust to reality. Nap wisely, and have sweet dreams, Irish!
Images: 1,2,3 (provided by author)