Apr 172011
Authors: By Johnathan Kastner

I want everyone to think deep, relaxing thoughts. Calm yourselves –– take a moment to ease into a sense of quiet and peace. We take sleep for granted. We forget to take time to unwind. Take a few deep breaths and consider this: Every year while you sleep six spiders commit suicide via your gaping, drooling maw.

I’m kidding! You can sleep easy knowing that the number is less than half that and that the majority of spiders aren’t able to lay eggs in your stomach after you swallow them.

That aside, sleep becomes very important for students this time of year. With finals approaching, final projects piling up and a stubborn refusal to give up on fun or start work more than two days before it’s due, finding time to sleep becomes harder than ever.

I’m a bit of a sleep expert. I’ve spent a large portion of my life asleep, more than I’ve ever spent studying, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. In fact, you might say that I’m a sleep addict. Why, if I had to go a day or two without sleep I’d be irritable, become prone to violent mood swings and likely slip into paralytic hallucinations.

But like all drugs, your body is much happier when it’s receiving its expected supply.

(Note: Author does not endorse drug use unless your doctor is telling you to and your doctor is not a hallucination).

There are several options to get caught up on sleep. The first that most students choose is to attend class. There are several reasons for this. First, those chairs are comfortable, and the patterns a spiral notebook makes on someone’s face are really quite fetching. There’s also something about the sound of someone talking that makes our generation just want to be unconscious as quickly as possible.

I also like to think of class as a spa. Spas are very expensive places to relax and hence are quite cozy. But did you know that class is even more expensive than spas? For all that extra money classes sure manage to cram a lot of comfort into those antiquated plastic pews.

It’s also classy. Nothing says “committed to excellence” like a notebook full of dates, the first thing the teacher said and then drool stains.

Sleep can also be done in brief bursts, called power naps. While the benefits of naps have been illustrated in a number of places, there are a few associated dangers the novice napper should be aware of.

For example, do not fall asleep around your friends. As it turns out, your friends are only nice to you in the absence of two things: your unconscious form and markers. Inevitably, you will wake up with something drawn on your face that certainly doesn’t belong there. If you must fall asleep around your friends, have a roll of duct tape handy to distract them as there’s no harm that could come to you there.

If you must fall asleep around people, try to assume a dignified pose as if thinking. Place one hand on your face, lean into it and frown a bit as if something important has occurred to you that merits your immediate and unbroken focus. That way, when your face slips down your hand and smacks into the surface in front of you, you can pretend that your sudden swearing outburst is in fact a burst of insight as opposed to searing pain.

Bear in mind that sleep is essential for your health and ability to think critically –– which means it may be the most important part of studying for finals. So important, in fact, that your priority should be sleep first, then of course social obligations followed by enough sleep to recover from those. It’s your health, after all, and one shouldn’t have to compromise between education and health.

Besides, those pre-and post-finals parties are totally worth staying up for.

Johnathan Kastner is in his second year of his second bachelor degree, majoring in computer science. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:51 pm

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