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11th November 2011

Nap time

You just can’t help dozing off at university

I gave up napping at the age of five. It was not a conscious decision, but perhaps one brought on by realising that the world was too exciting for snoozing. There were too many Haribos to shove into my feed hole, too many video games to waste my childhood playing and too many Pokémon to catch to ever bother with grabbing some daytime shuteye.

Then at age 19 and studying at a world renowned university, I took it up again.

It was one hazy afternoon in the first semester of my freshers year that I found myself overcome by a most peculiar feeling. I had the urge lay down, close my eyes and have a wee kip. It was a confusing situation, wasn’t napping only for bed wetting toddlers and incontinent pensioners? Nevertheless, as I put my grotesquely long-haired head to my pillow (every one has stupid hair in their first year), I almost instantaneously went from awake to dozing. Away I was, in the land of nod, dreaming of attending wine and cheese tasting evenings hosted by a rabbles of velociraptors.

Then soon napping, the activity of inactivity, became a favourite thing to do. I was slotting in a session whenever possible, almost addicted to blissfully ignoring the word outside in a period of peaceful dormancy.

But what was the reason behind this new obsession for spontaneous siestas? Was it the tremendous pressure of being a fledgling academic? Was it due to fatigue from endless nights of going to clubs and attempting to move my body to a temporally consistent noise? Was it because I was away from home for a long period of time and somehow reverting to a child-like form (I did have a milk obsession at the time)?

Whatever the reason, napping was now shamefully part of my lifestyle. I was certainly not being constructive with my time if I was spending it asleep. However, no matter how stereotypical it is of students to nap, if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to do it with some level of professionalism – none of that silly amateur stuff.

Firstly, a good choice of nap time symphonies is essential, a personal preference of mine is the Jurassic Park soundtrack, but anything that helps conjure up memories of dinosaurs is a good choice. Secondly, one requires suitable levels of lighting; obviously low level is best, but crucially it needs to reduce the confusion of waking up and not being certain whether it’s morning of evening, which is the bane of many nap time rookies. Thirdly, you need to lock the door, nothing is worse than having a nap rudely interrupted by some ignorant housemate who fails to understand the importance of you catching some mid-afternoon z’s.

Now the nap surface is obviously a crucial component. Convention says to choose your bed, this is allowed but only if you adhere to the proper nap etiquette. It is most unbecoming to change into pyjamas for nap time, this is a nap not a fully fledged slumber session. Duvets are permitted on certain occasions, such as low temperatures, but ideally you should be on top of bed sheets as you wish to give the impression that you are only napping temporarily and are ready to return to being functional at any time.

Napping comes in two forms – deliberate and accidental. You can choose to enforce a session of dribbling on your pillow out of choice, which for humanities students it’s probably just to pass the time (as one of my housemates once told me “there are too may hours in the day”). Or you can fall victim to the accidental nap, which often strikes mid-lecture; you would have never slept in class at school, but there is something about higher education that makes it very easy to switch the mind off.

There is one final type of nap, which is only whispered of in certain secret circles and more unsavoury than an apple VK. Combining some of the most famous of student past times, the iNank is a hedonistic cocktail of watching iPlayer, napping and another activity.

No matter which nap approach you take, you will eventually awaken (hopefully). Then you will have the wonderful post-nap grogginess to shake off, your body will feel weak and even wiggling your mouse-pad to wake up your laptop will seem like a strain.

But soon you will come back around with a renewed energy for life and an enthusiasm to spruce up your hideous face, head out to some filthy bar or club and get completely and utterly trashed. Using the power of the nap to help you to continue enjoying your student years.

So tuck yourself in with a bottle of warm milk, suck on your thumb and enjoy the prime of your life in the best way possible – unconscious.

Lloyd Henning

Lloyd Henning

Lloyd Henning is columnist and web editor for The Mancunion. He was once an olive connoisseur, he now works towards one day creating the real Jurassic Park. You can follow him on twitter @lloydhenning

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