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A Guide to Finals: The Science of Napping

Okay, here we go. It’s 10 p.m. on Monday night and you’re looking down at your mapped-out finals week schedule, complete with glittered headings and scented stickers. You’ve planned every minute of every day for the rest of this week, allowing time only for what’s necessary. No time for food, no time for showering, no time for looking cute. You’ve barely even squeezed in time to brush your teeth before heading off to your final. But you realize you’ve forgottten to budget time for sleep.

Your whole plan is ruined. You can’t do it; everything is falling apart.

But wait! You recall from a psychology class in high school that your brain can still operate with minimal sleep on something called REM sleep. What was that again? Oh, here it is.

Sleep tight!

What is sleep?

When it comes to sleeping, there are two important stages: non-REM sleep and REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep. During the stages of non-REM sleep, your body repairs itself and regenerates tissues, building up its immune system. During REM sleep, on the other hand, your brain increases in activity and is able to store memories and create new associative networks for creativity. This is when you experience dreams.

Types of naps

The 10- or 20-minute nap

Perfect for those who need to get back to work in a jiffy, this short nap gives a quick boost of alertness and energy by limiting your body to the lighter stages of non-REM sleep. However, research has shown that the 10-minute nap beats any other short nap because the body doesn’t experience the groggy feeling immediately after waking. If you find yourself dreaming during a short nap, it is likely that you are sleep-deprived and should instead get a full night’s sleep.

The 30-minute nap

Actually a very inefficient type of nap, 30 minutes doesn’t allow your body the full restorative effects of a 60-minute nap and will often leave you with sleep inertia: basically, a hangover-like groggy feeling that doesn’t go away for another 30 minutes after waking.

The 60-minute nap

Slow-wave sleep is necessary if you’re looking to actually remember facts, places and faces, and that only happens when you allow your body to rest for about an hour. This kind of nap allows for cognitive memory processing, but the downside is that you might experience some grogginess when waking up.

The full 90-minute nap

Allowing the body to complete a full cycle of sleep, including REM sleep, this nap leads to an improvement in emotional and procedural memory and creativity, all without the side effects of sleep inertia.

The “I’m only going to close my eyes” nap aka the oversleeping nap

It happens to the best of us, so don’t fret. But if you wake up in a panic three hours after your alarm has been going off (and your roommate now hates you), the best thing to do is probably just to go back to sleep if you have the time. Most healthy adults require an average of seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. You might lose some crucial study time, but you’ll feel more energetic, and your body will thank you for it.

If only I were that cute when drifting off to sleep. Instead, I look like this:

Where to nap

In order to avoid a deep sleep, it’s best to sit slightly upright when napping. Try napping in a parked car, under a desk, lying on a couch, etc. This part is common sense. If you’re only looking for a quick nap, don’t throw on your PJs and cuddle in the comfort of your own warm, cozy bed.

The best time to nap

Any time! Well,  not really.

According to studies, the ideal time to nap is anywhere between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. because napping later in the day can interfere with your regular sleeping schedule at night. However, this also depends on what time you wake up and go to bed, so aim for the middle of your day.

Tips to waking up after naps

One student-friendly idea for those looking to take short 10-minute naps is to hold a pencil or pen in your hand while sleeping upright on a chair or couch. After about 10 minutes, your body will try to fall deeper into sleep, and you’ll most likely drop your pencil as an effect, waking you up in the process.

If you’re a coffee lover, another trick to a wake-up is to drink a cup of coffee before napping. The coffee won’t stop you from a short nap and, by the time it kicks in, will help lessen the effect of sleep inertia when waking up.

Hooray for sleep.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal

National Sleep Foundation

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Westwood

Fraternity Holiday Lights: A Definitive Ranking

Each year, fraternity houses at UCLA compete in holiday light displays and are the object of much discussion. We at Mojo wanted to seal the debate with some factual evidence and entirely subjective ramblings. We bring you our definitive ranking of this year’s holiday lights, based on effort, aesthetic quality and originality, as seen on Friday.

19. Pi Kappa Alpha

Oh hi, PIKE, didn’t see you there.

Bonus points: The night light that shines when you pass the house made us feel special. And qualifies as “light,” if not “holiday.”

Effort: 0/5
Aesthetic quality: 0/5
Originality: 1/5

Pi Kappa Alpha

Pi Kappa Alpha - Automatic Light

18. Sigma Chi

Yet another Grinch who almost ruined Christmas, Sigma Chi flaunts its jumbo painted letters, but there’s no sign of holiday lights.

Bonus points: We did spot a (bare) Christmas tree through the gate, so there’s that.

Effort: 0/5
Aesthetic quality: 1/5
Originality: 1/5

Sigma Chi

17. Zeta Beta Tau

One lone room took it upon itself to compensate for ZBT’s shortcomings. Additionally, if you look closely, there is an American flag made of dangling Christmas lights that were lit Thursday and extinguished Friday. Go figure.

Bonus points: They did something.

Effort: 1/5
Aesthetic quality: 1/5
Originality: 1/5

Zeta Beta Tau
Picture taken Tuesday.

Zeta Beta Tau

16. Pi Kappa Phi

You tried, PiKapp, you tried.

Bonus points: The alley looks much better in real life than it does in this picture.

Effort: 2/5
Aesthetic quality: 1/5
Originality: 1/5

Pi Kappa Phi

15. Sigma Phi Epsilon

Sig Ep’s colorful string lights are arranged in a shapely manner and provide some measure of holiday cheer to passersby.

Bonus points: The red garland matches the red door. Well played.

Effort: 2/5
Aesthetic quality: 2/5
Originality: 1/5

Sigma Phi Epsilon

14. Triangle

We can’t vouch for Triangle’s contribution to the fraternity holiday scenery, but there is something to be said for a simple string of lights.

Bonus points: The display makes (geometric) sense.

Effort: 2/5
Aesthetic quality: 2/5
Originality: 1/5

Triangle

13. Delta Sigma Phi

Now, Delta Sig looks nice. Using only white lights was a good call considering the green accents on the house. The lights are expertly arranged in straight lines (cough PiKapp cough). The display isn’t the most impressive and original, but hey, it works.

Bonus points: Delta Sig followed the house’s natural outlines.

Effort: 3/5
Aesthetic quality: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Delta Sigma Phi

12. Theta Chi

Theta Chi looks pretty and tasteful, but lacks a “wow” factor.

Bonus points: The recent renovations make everything better.

Effort: 3/5
Aesthetic quality: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Theta Chi

11. Beta Theta Pi

There is a lot of pressure on Beta to perform around Christmastime. The house is large and located at the intersection of pretty much everything. This means a lot of foot traffic and a whole lot more judgmental stares. The house looks festive, colorful and does not disappoint. However, the shapes and colors on the house don’t really come together in any sort of cohesive display.

Bonus points: We love the lights on the ramp. A(lpha) for effort, Beta.

Effort: 5/5
Aesthetic quality: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Beta Theta Pi

10. Alpha Epsilon Pi

AEPi doesn’t have much to work with area-wise. The house is much smaller than some of the other fraternities, but this year the chapter successfully presented the Westwood population with an aesthetically pleasing display.

Bonus points: The blue letters with the white lights are captivating.

Effort: 3/5
Aesthetic quality: 5/5
Originality: 3/5

Alpha Epsilon Pi

9.  Alpha Gamma Omega

AGO has a wonderful canopy of lights strewn across its house that puts neighboring houses to shame. The fraternity respected the formula for holiday lights and did so successfully.

Bonus points: We love the simplicity of this elegant yet cheerful display.

Effort: 4
Aesthetic quality: 4
Originality: 3

IMG_4441_edit

 

8. Lambda Chi Alpha

The Lambda house looks festive and cohesive, if not incredibly original. Passersby don’t feel cheated and can fully revel in the joy of the season as they make their way up and down Strathmore Drive.

Bonus points: Lining every single window with lights? That cannot have been easy to do, so props.

Effort: 5/5
Aesthetic quality: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Lambda Chi Alpha

7. Delta Tau Delta

We’re not convinced we like the purple at DTD, but that’s just us being terribly critical. The members obviously made every effort to deliver light-heartedness (get it?) this Christmas season. They did a fantastic job of outlining the house’s symmetry, but this would have been more difficult on an oddly shaped edifice.

Bonus points: The lit-up Greek letters are joyous.

Effort: 5/5
Aesthetic quality: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Delta Tau Delta

Delta Tau Delta

6. Phi Kappa Psi

Phi Psi is currently recruiting, but whoever put up these lights deserves recognition. The house looks great and turns heads with its strings of lights skillfully linking the railings together.

Bonus points: The wreath of lights makes the perfect finishing touch.

Effort: 4/5
Aesthetic quality: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Phi Kappa Psi

Phi Kappa Psi

5. Theta Xi

Theta Xi made the most of its existing features, namely the row of bushes and the emblematic palm tree. The display also creates the perfect color balance and just looks straight-up pretty.

Bonus points: Santa is by the chimney, which is genius.

Effort: 5/5
Aesthetic quality: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

Theta Xi - Full View

Theta Xi

Theta Xi - Palm Tree

4. Sigma Nu

Sig Nu pretty much looks like a gingerbread house on a normal day, so we’re not surprised at how good the house looks during the holidays. There might be a little too much going on, but we’re being nitpicky. The entrance looks incredible.

Bonus points: Light-up candy canes and the tree. Best enjoyed slightly blurry.

Effort: 5/5
Aesthetic quality: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Sigma Nu - Full View

Sigma Nu - Candy Cane Tree

Sigma Nu - Blurred Lights

3. Sigma Pi

Classic, effective, pretty. Good job, Sig Pi.

Bonus points: This display achieves a perfect (and symmetrical) balance of colors, and it looks good doing it.

Effort: 5/5
Aesthetic quality: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

Sigma Pi

2. Sigma Alpha Epsilon

We’re playing devil’s advocate here. For most, SAE’s annual holiday light show is the undisputed winner; we just see value in minimalism. That being said, the decorations are undeniably impressive and the fraternity’s attention to detail is admirable. Sig Alph goes where other houses don’t venture, even if it means creating a melting pot of colors and shapes and words.

Bonus points: Look! It’s Santa on his sleigh!

Effort: 6/5
Aesthetic quality: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Sigma Alpha Epsilon - Santa's Sleigh

1. Theta Delta Chi

We’ll admit to being slightly biased by the design of the house itself, but we are thoroughly impressed. TDX marks its first year as a reinstated chapter – the fraternity is recruiting members again – with a holiday display that is nothing short of beautiful. The lights are understated, yes, but tasteful and detail-oriented.

Bonus points: We like the fun blow-up snowmen on the roof, and the theta is a wreath! That is all.

Effort: 4/5
Aesthetic quality: 5/5
Originality: 5/5

Theta Delta Chi - Front

Theta Delta Chi - Zoom

Theta Delta Chi - Palms

Theta Delta Chi - Snowmen

Who’s your number one? Tweet us @dbmojo or comment below to let us know.

 

This post was updated at 10:05 p.m. to add Alpha Gamma Omega to the rankings.

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Arts & EntertainmentHow-to

A Beginner’s Guide to a Night at the Staples Center

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If you’re anything like me, a Los Angeles newbie with a bucket list of places to visit before the undergraduate days are over, a concert at the Staples Center will likely be somewhere on that list. So when a friend presented me with an extra ticket to the 2014 Jingle Ball concert, I jumped at the opportunity, and I must say, I learned quite a lot in the process. If you’re new to LA or just haven’t been to the Staples Center, here are a few pieces of advice that I have compiled from the Friday night excursion.

In my particular situation, I found out I was going to Jingle Ball one week prior to the event. Fortunately for me, my friend had already bought and printed our tickets, but I still wanted to prepare myself for the night by looking up transportation routes, concert reviews and my seat location. I decided to do some basic research via Google and found out that the line-up for the event, sponsored by KIIS FM, consisted of 12 artists including Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea and host Nick Jonas. From the concert reviews, I got a better sense of how much money to bring and how long the event would last. This brings me to my first point:

Do some research in advance. 

The Staples Center and its surrounding area have very high traffic before and after major events. It’s helpful to prepare an estimate of how much money to bring for a taxi or Uber ride and to foresee any other bumps in the road.

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To save some money, my friend and I wanted to take a bus to and from the concert, but my roommate advised us not to take public transportation back from the concert for safety reasons and because of how late we would be coming home. Getting there, we took the Metro Rapid 720 from the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood at around 4:30 p.m., planning to get off on Broadway and 5th and walk a couple blocks to catch another bus. A woman on the 720, however, overheard our transportation plans and recommended a different route, which we decided to take. She advised us to instead get off the bus on Vermont and then take the red line of the Metro (underground subway system) to 7th and Figueroa, noting that the Staples Center would be just 5 blocks away. Buying the Metro ticket was very easy, and the whole trip to the venue only cost $4.50. This brings me to another important tip:

Make sure you are familiar with where your desired bus stop is located.

If you plan on taking a bus to the Staples Center, it’s important to know that there isn’t one direct line that takes you straight to the venue. You will most likely have to switch buses or use the subway system like we did, and that could include some walking in between. If you’re not familiar with downtown L.A. or where certain streets are, don’t be shy to ask someone who is more familiar how to avoid questionable situations.

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One of the perks of arriving two hours early to Jingle Ball was the free holiday-themed carnival that took place outside the Staples Center before the doors opened. Entrance was free, and various corporate sponsors had booths set up where they were giving away samples or showing off new products. An ice-skating rink, ferris wheel and outdoor concert, which included a performance by Meghan Trainor, were also available to the public.

So, when attending a concert or game at the Staples Center, don’t forget to take advantage of freebies.

Oftentimes, there will be similar outdoor festivities with free handouts for other events where you can have some fun before the show.

Once we showed our tickets and entered through the doors, the Staples Center was really quite easy to navigate. Signs very clearly direct you to which section and row your seats are in, and ushers and other personnel in each section are available to guide you as well. Each floor had plenty of restrooms and fast food eateries, so our basic needs were definitely covered.

My last piece of advice is, if possible, to leave a couple minutes early to beat the rush of people exiting the building.

If you’re planning on taking an Uber or Lyft, you might want to walk a block or so away from the Staples Center for pick-up, but there will definitely be plenty of rides available. And don’t be surprised if the ride is a little bit on the expensive side.

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Going to my first concert at the Staples Center was definitely a learning experience, but as a newcomer to L.A., the experience was truly amazing.

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Arts & Entertainment

UCLA’s Newest Band: Apollo Soul

Amid the much needed rainy week, I had the chance to sit down and interview a new, up-and-coming band on campus, Apollo Soul. Consisting of four first-years – three studying ethnomusicology/jazz studies and one studying theater – Apollo Soul is bound together by members Jack Bastian (keyboard), Matt Saunders (electric guitar), Cole Brossus (bass guitar) and Ellington Peet (drums). When asked how the band name came to be, they all told the story of how after a conversation about the movie “Rocky” and the character Apollo Creed, they subsequently began talking about band names. Knowing they wanted to incorporate the word “soul,” the members chose “Apollo Soul” and a band was suddenly born. Apollo Soul brings a new front to neo-soul and jazz, and their songs present a versatile medium that can be listened to while enjoying a Cafe 1919 gelato or celebrating at a post-final party. Although the members are first-years, being in a band makes them less relatable; thus, I’ve asked some quirky questions to get to know the members on a more personal level. Here’s what I found out:

They Sing in the Shower

To get technical, two out of the four members sing in the shower (well, if scatting counts). Brossus immediately said that he did, while Saunders and Bastian said they didn’t. Peet amusingly revealed that “sometimes (he’ll) scat.”

They Have Self-Proclaimed R@pp3r N@me$

I asked what their hypothetical rapper names would be, and they all seemed to know without hesitation. As Bastian and Peet dubbed themselves the duo, “Big Poppa & the Love Doctor,” Saunders claimed the name “Jojo Diamond,” and Brossus labeled himself the “Prada G.” All in all, I give them props for thinking of good rapper names that don’t have their first initial tagged in front of “eazy” or “dawg.”

They Live On the Edge

“Living on the edge” can vary from person to person and here, we see no difference. While Brossus excitedly told the story of how he once got on a plane to Germany, went to a punk/rock and roll club with a friend, hit a German version of a piñata and was referred to as “the American” all in one night, Bastian concisely yet nonchalantly said, “being born” was the edgiest thing he’s done. Saunders shared the story of how he took a spontaneous trip to South Korea and went to a night club, where he was threatened by a gangster for dancing too hard. Finally, Peet proclaimed “getting into UCLA” was the coolest thing he’s done, but something tells me it’s creating his own record label company, Brewing Thoughts.

They are Human 

Movies are made to make you think, laugh and discuss, but some are just meant for you to cry. After some thought, Peet mused 50/50, the mislabeled comedy, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, made him cry. Saunders claims to “lose it” while watching Aquamarine, the film about two teens befriending a mermaid and Brossus chose Mr. Holland’s Opus, a movie about a musician who takes a high school teaching job. Just like you and me, the members of Apollo Soul have their teary moments – but oh wait, what about Bastian? His answer: “I never cry.”

They Have Theme Songs

A theme song is a song that reflects your personality or life, but simply put, it could just be a song that makes you want to dance. Brossus’ theme song is “Street Joy” by White Denim and Bastian claims his to be “Stonecutters” by Flying Lotus. Peet threw it back to the late 90s, as he chose “All Star” by Smash Mouth, and Saunders humorously mentioned, “Hyrule Field, that theme song from Zelda.”

Ultimately, in the trek to creating their own path, the members of Apollo Soul are hoping to record some songs and launch a “school circuit,” or a mini tour around other local universities in the future. If you want to check out this band for yourself, you can attend its next gig this Friday (location TBA). This band is one to keep your eye on throughout the years.

Sookie Kwak

Courtesy of Sookie Kwak

Credit: Olivia Lim

Courtesy of Olivia Lim

Credit: Sookie Kwak

Courtesy of Sookie Kwak

Credit: Sookie Kwak

Courtesy of Sookie Kwak

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How-to

Free iOS Apps to Get You Through Finals

With finals approaching, everyone is beginning to cram for the classes they’ve procrastinated on all quarter. Here are some free apps to download for your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device that will get you on track.

1. Exam Countdown. This is by far the most important: You don’t want to forget what day your final is on. Not showing up is a guaranteed way to fail. Plus, seeing how few days you have left can shock you into studying.

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2. Quizlet. If you’ve never heard of Quizlet, you’re missing out. It’s an app that lets you access flashcards for different subjects or make your own, and it allows you to quiz yourself in a variety of different ways. If you’re really trying to cram, these flashcards are easy to study between classes.

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3. RefME. This app is great if you’re writing a paper and need to cite your sources. If you’re using a textbook that has a barcode, all you have to do is hold your phone over the barcode for a few seconds. All of the information about the textbook pops up, along with the citation.

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4. Pocket. This app is great for looking up articles on your phone when you intend to save them for later. Simply download the app, and you’ll automatically have a list of options of how to save articles. You can save from Mobile Safari, your computer, apps and email. It’s ridiculously self-explanatory and incredibly useful.

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5. Calm. This app is a guide to meditation, perfect for the stressed college student preparing for finals. It begins by asking you to select a relaxing scene like a forest or a beach, after which it starts playing related sounds. You can customize the time you want to spend relaxing to fit your own needs and you can learn how to meditate through the “7 Steps of Calm.”IMG_5316

Good luck on finals!

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