PLACES The Saddleback Student ‘s Guide to Napping on Campus

We’ve all been there. You have a two or three hour gap between your classes, you’re stuck on campus, and want nothing more than to curl up and pass out. Of course nothing beats the warm comfort of your own bed, but sometimes you just have to make do.

Napping is essential to one’s health and happiness – science can prove it. According to Dr. Robert Stickgold’s studies, occasional naps can enhance memory as well as learning and motor skills. In fact, NASA itself found that taking a 26 minute nap can increase your performance by 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent. Waking up refreshed and ready for class ensures students will pay better attention and thus improve their class performance. In short, more naps equals better grades.

It can be detrimental to some students’ academic lives if they miss their much-needed naps.

“I was so tired one day during class that I fell asleep and I just remember waking up and the whole class was staring at me. It was pretty embarrassing and the teacher was pissed. Never missing a nap again!” says Heather Rice.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it short. You don’t want to oversleep through your next class. Experts advise 20 to 30 minutes, which is supposedly just the perfect amount of time needed to re-energize. Take caution not to let your nap exceed 45 minutes, for it can sometimes cause “sleep inertia” which will make you feel even more drowsy and dazed.
  • Set an alarm on your phone.
  • Use your backpack as a pillow. This will ensure no one tries to steal it and it stays safe.
  • If you have a hard time falling asleep in public, bring an eye mask or earplugs.
  • Or you can go the extra mile and change into some comfy pajamas, maybe even play some soothing music or white noise and use a humidifier.

Here are some of the best student-approved spots for naps.

A popular location are the red chairs in the quad (“I would say that the red lawn chairs are the comfiest seats for a nap on campus” says Anton Sunico).

Or if you want a spot no one else will crowd, try strategically snuggling up inside a letter of the Wonder sculpture. Heather Rice approves, calling it “a bit tight but once you fit yourself in, it’s a cozy little corner.”

Trees will never fail to provide a sturdy spot for you. You can either snooze on the grass underneath its shade or simply climb onto a branch and hold tight. Both are comfortable and unique options that no one else will be thinking of doing. You’ll have the whole tree to yourself.

Heather Rice describes this as the most peaceful of all the locations – “The wind is softly blowing through the leaves, you can hear the birds chirping, and you’re in the cool shade. Nothing better than the bed Mother Nature makes for you.”

Another scenic and secluded location is this little clearing located by the LRC. It is far enough from foot traffic that you won’t have to worry about being disturbed during your slumber. The gently falling leaves and bed-sized bench makes this the perfect setting.

As Sunico best puts it,  “The library is overrated, you have fresh air when you nap outside, and after awakening from a nap outside, the fresh air leaves your soul clean.”

And last but not least, take advantage of that sunny spot on the bridge between the quad and LRC. Sure it might be crowded with people walking to their classes, but it’s nothing but some white noise. It’s not the most secluded of spots with its never-ending foot traffic, but when you’re in the need of a nap, it will do.

“Naps are for sure a necessity for college students’ busy lifestyles. It’s not lazy, we’re actually becoming better, more motivated people by taking naps since they allow to refocus and work even harder!” says Kat Etka, who is enrolled in 21 units while working two jobs.

“Just be careful about where you nap and how long…” she says with a laugh. “One time, I fell asleep in the LRC during finals week and was so exhausted I slept through my stats final! So I would say definitely set an alarm so you don’t miss anything important.”

Naps are undoubtedly essential for the college student, especially since all-nighters finishing papers or studying for exams are a common occurrence. They can recharge you and boost your energy so that you are up and ready to take on the rest of the day.

There’s no need to feel guilty about your nap habits. Even some of history’s most accomplished figures, John F. Kennedy and Thomas Edison took nearly daily naps. It  was how they were able to successfully handle their hectic schedules. It has been said of the famous innovator that his  “genius for sleep equaled his genius for invention. He could go to sleep anywhere, anytime, on anything.”

Sure, Washington State and University of Miami might have their $10,00 nap pods equipped with music and soothing vibrations, but Saddleback College arguably has the best spots for all the power naps we need.

Now you know. Don’t just pick any old table and slump over. Go for the shady tree branch or sunny spot on the bridge; it will provide a much more interesting napping experience. And don’t forget to be well-equipped with a onesie and eye mask!