Narcoleptic (Un)anonymous

In true narcoleptic fashion, I’m choosing to dedicate this week’s post to sleeping. And by sleeping, I mean napping. Napping can be a college student’s best friend or arch nemesis, depending on how long the nap lasts.

Back in my glory days, when I took AP Psychology in High School, I learned that naps stop being naps and start being sleep after about 20 minutes. To reap the full effects of a nap, it can’t last beyond a half hour. This is difficult, especially for a narcoleptic like me, because I find myself falling into 3-hour-long comas and calling them naps. But technically, once you enter the Rapid Eye-Movement stage of sleep, you’re no longer napping, and it’s harder to wake up and feel energized because your body thinks you’re sleeping, and wants the remainder of the hours you usually get at night.

Here’s a tip for all you coffee drinkers: I can’t have caffeine–which contrary to popular belief, is one of the best curve balls life could’ve thrown me–but if you run on it, I suggest having a cup of coffee/can of red bull/caffeine pills/doses of the drug through an IV (however you kids get your fix these days) and taking a 15-20 minute nap, since that’s how long caffeine takes to kick into your system anyway, and wake up ready to go.

If you steer clear of the heart stimulant like me, a 20 minute nap followed by an apple (which is actually proven to give you the same amount of energy as a cup of coffee) is your best bet. Just remember to set your alarm, and here’s the trick: wake up to it.

Suzy Berkowitz

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