November 26, 2012

A Hopefully Useful Guide

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So. Sleeping in class.Most of us do it. Some of us don’t. No matter how awesome the professor or engaging the class material, sometimes the combination of sleep deprivation and sitting still for 50 plus minutes makes it basically impossible to not catch a brief catnap — intentionally or unintentionally.For those of you who have yet to figure out all the nuances of sleeping in class, here is a hopefully useful, but by no means comprehensive, collection of techniques available to you in a standard lecture hall.The SlouchProbably the most popular method among people for whom falling asleep in class is a cognizant decision. Slide as far down in your chair as you can while still maintaining a stable seat. Allow your head to drop to either side and rest on your own shoulder. Easiest to execute in deep chairs. Also the only technique — aside from The Sprawl, described below — that allows you to fall completely asleep (which can be a pro or a con, depending on your attitude toward falling asleep in class in general).Pros: The Slouch is probably the most comfortable of all your options. It’s versatile as well — no arm rest or desk required. It has the added bonus of medium amounts of neck support, so you are less likely to wake up with a very stiff neck.Cons: Glaringly obvious that you’re asleep in class. Best exercised in large lecture halls where the professor won’t notice/care that you’ve passed out. Also, it can lead to a sore tailbone if done in a hard chair.The DipGenerally practiced if one falls asleep unintentionally. Simply allow your head to drop forward. Pass out. Best for short naps.Pros: Simple to execute, and versatile. From the front of a lecture hall, it seems semi-plausible that you were merely staring at your notes for a long time before looking back up.Cons: Two words: stiff neck. Unless your nap is less than a minute long, The Dip can result in some serious neck pain. Also, it’s incredibly embarrassing if you happen to drool in your sleep.The SprawlFor the shameless. Rest your head on the nearest horizontal surface, perhaps with your folded arms beneath for cushioning. Sleep. Requires a medium-size horizontal surface that will accommodate at least your head. Possible — in fact, quite easy — to fall completely asleep.Pros: The Sprawl provides about as much neck support as you’re going to get, if you want to fall asleep in some sort of semi-vertical position.Cons: If anything, more obnoxious than The Slouch. It’s not going to endear you to any professors, as Professor Maas is now retired. Also, your arm is probably going to fall asleep if you go for the folded-arms approach.The PerchOne of your more subtle options, if you’re the sort that cares if your professor notices that you’ve fallen asleep. Requires a chair with an armrest or a high desk. Lean your elbow on the armrest, and support your head in your hand. Catnap at will. It’s hard to fall properly asleep unless you get the balance just right. Neck support is minimal, but certainly preferable to what’s provided by The Dip.Pros: If you tilt your head down slightly, you gain a lot of subtlety — though, if you care about that sort of thing I recommend The Thinker. Rather than simply resting your head in your hand, look down and lean your head forward slightly, using your hand to support your head from the forehead. This is hard to distinguish from someone just looking at their notes for an extended period of time, as long as you’re not sitting in the front row.Cons: Requires an armrest. Can result in a sore wrist if practiced for extended periods of time.If none of these are doing it for you, then you can always go with my personal favorite — just stay in bed. Pros include a lower likelihood of strained joints and the possibility of getting some real sleep. Cons include sleeping through your very, very expensive college education.

Deborah Liu is a senior in the College of Engineering. She may be reached at deborahliu@cornellsun.com. First World Problem appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.

Original Author: Deborah Liu