Impending exams and flash napping

Catey Harwell, MS2


Student wellness initiatives are really gearing up here on the Health Science Campus (HSC) thanks to the election of two new student wellness officers (thanks Rachel and Justin!) and their collaboration with Student Affairs (thanks Tony!). With Step 1 looming in the not too distant future for every second year, a session teaching students how to “flash nap” seemed appropriately timed. For those of you not familiar with flash napping, it’s about taking 10-40 minutes to “intentionally, efficiently, and effectively nap.”

The antithesis of the flash nap is the so-called “crash nap,” which I know all too well. Although I’ve never been much of a napper, there are those times when I get far enough behind on my sleep that I can do nothing else but crash in the middle of the day – typically after a big exam or more recently as a result of jet lag. I wake up 1+ hours later feeling like I’m moving through molasses. My thoughts are slow and I know that any chance I had at being productive the rest of the day are out the window.

Flash napping offers us a chance to savor those mid-afternoon slumps (I know I’m not the only one to get those!) and come back feeling more focused, alert, and able to handle whatever life throws at us. That sounds like a great plan to me, especially for those six weeks in April and May when my life is going to be absorbed by the monotony of Step 1 prep. I guess I better get practicing so by that time I’ll be a professional-level Flash Napper!

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