The finals guide to getting some sleep: naptime edition

Illustration by Ada Barbee

It is no secret that college students do not get enough sleep. Simply searching “college sleep” on Google makes this abundantly clear. The solution, while perhaps hard to implement, is simple: according to the National Sleep Foundation, getting eight hours of sleep can improve mental health and help students escape the “vicious cycle” of sleeplessness (7–9 hours is recommended for people ages 18–25).

An April study by the Sleep Research Society that incentivized students to get eight hours of sleep during finals week found that “improving sleep in students need not come at the cost of poorer grades.” According to the study, “During final exams week, fewer than 20% of students meet minimum sleep recommendations (7 hours) and <10% sleep optimally (8-9 hours). Yet, students might need sleep the most while studying for final exams.”

Considering that many students may yet find it difficult to get eight hours of sleep during finals week, napping is one solution. Here is your guide to the best places to nap on campus, and some quick napping tips.

Under the stairs in the Evans Music Center

Go in the main doors of Evans and down the stairs to the left. If you like an instrumental background, you will love the couches underneath the stairs. It is a peaceful spot and offers a fusion of light piano music, string instrument melodies and harmonious singing. These couches are a perfect place to nap or study — if they are not already taken.


Hear me out — if it is not raining or too cold, there is no better place to get away from the rush of human life than the great outdoors. Bring a blanket and study on the lawn below the reflecting pool. For a warmer spot, head to the courtyard outside of Smith Hall. On sunny days, the walls act as a natural oven — sometimes it is genuinely warm. At the time of publication, sunset is at 4:28 p.m.

Watzek library couches

You know the spot: behind the service desks, past the chess set and water bottle fill station. The library is an obvious place to study — but everyone needs to take a break every once in a while. These grey pleather couches are sumptuously comfortable, fit most students horizontally and are perfect with a pillow (or backpack, in a pinch).

The Troom

Looking for a nap location later in the night? The Troom generally empties out after lunchtime, and the sitting area stays open after the cafeteria is closed off. As long as a club meeting is not going on, the Troom is a great nap spot, with couches of all colors, textures and shapes. (I recommend the red couches for firmness, or the brown couches for a springy plushness. But the blue and green armchairs are nothing to scoff at).

Faculty areas

This one is for students with a rebellious streak. There are usually couches wherever professors have office hours. Third floor Miller offers a seating area in a quiet environment without too much artificial lighting (sometimes there is catering). You will probably want to get permission so the professors nearby aren’t …  disappointed.

Your dorm room

Not one for public places? Naps in your own room are great because you control the environment. It is quiet, dark and there are few distractions. Studies show that naps lying down in a dark place are most effective — so drop the blinds, put on a pot of coffee (see below) and lie down in your own bed.

Last, a few tips to optimize napping success, according to LifeHacker Australia.

Nap between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Our bodies are naturally programmed for this period of intense sleep, along with another period from  2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Do not sleep for longer than 30 minutes

Any longer and you will slip into a deeper sleep, and feel groggy when you have to wake up. Napping anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes has been shown to have a number of benefits for health and productivity.

Drink coffee right before your nap

The caffeine should wake you up in about 20 minutes.

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