McFarland tops list for napping students

By News Editor Anna Beahm

When students chose their favorite locations on and near campus, I now know why they chose McFarland Park as the best place to take a nap.

McFarland won first place in the best places to nap category, with Collier Library and The Commons coming in second and third, respectively.

I spent one beautiful Saturday afternoon napping at McFarland. I brought back some tips for getting the most out of napping outdoors.

Here are four things you will need to get the best out of your nap at McFarland Park:

1. Proper surface

Sprawling out on the soft grass sounds like a great idea until bugs, ants and dirt join the fun. The park is usually well-manicured, but a layer between you and the ground is necessary.

My personal surface of choice is a suspendable hammock like the ENO DoubleNest or a similar item. The hammock hangs between two trees and keeps you off the ground and in the breeze. Plus, there’s nothing like the soft sway of a hammock to put you right to sleep.

If you do not have a hammock, I recommend a few thick blankets or a sleeping bag to spread on the ground. The blankets will add an extra layer of comfort between you and the ground.

2. Pillow

While a hammock is comfortable, sleeping in one can cause neck pain. Bring an extra pillow to prop the shoulders and neck. This will maximize your comfort and help you get better-quality sleep. For a hammock, make sure the pillow is on the small side. A large pillow could be awkward and more uncomfortable than not having one at all.

If you are sleeping on the ground, bring a pillow. A pillow could make the difference between a refreshing afternoon or struggling to find a comfortable spot.

3. Sunscreen

 I forgot sunscreen during my afternoon nap, and regretted it. Falling asleep in the sun is a great way to a tan, but it could also cause bad sunburns, depending on the length of the nap.

I recommend applying sunscreen on the face and the chest and shoulders, even if the area is partially shaded. Never underestimate the power of the sun.

4. Reading materials

I know this is a story about napping, but having some good ole’ analog entertainment to help clear the mind in preparation for a nap is essential. A study published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” showed users who read on cell phones, tablets or e-readers take longer to fall asleep and spend less time sleeping in the important REM cycle. The blue light from these devices overstimulates the brain, causing these complications, the study said.

For serious relaxation and quality rest, leave the electronics at home or in the car. If entertainment is a must, choose a book.