A public service announcement for sleep-deprived students
Freya Wasteneys // Contributor
At this time of year, most students are burnt out, tired and counting down the days until the end of the semester. Those with long commutes and big breaks between classes often find themselves with an awkward amount of time to fill, but no energy to fill it.
If you don’t wander off the beaten track at Capilano University, you may feel an overwhelming sense of despair at the lack of napping spots. Before you resort to curling up in a ball on the floor, make sure you check out some of the hidden nooks around campus.
Sure, studying would probably be the ideal way to use that time, but as a general rule, most people find it difficult to write essays and read textbooks when they can’t keep their eyes open.
While some people who value constant productivity view napping as a weakness, you will be happy to hear that new research proves otherwise. In fact, New Zealand’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Center shows that being sleep deprived is actually similar to being drunk. Yes, that’s right, drunk. The study was focused on the effects of sleeplessness and driving performance and showed that sleep exhaustion slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of a car crash. Tell-tale symptoms of sleep deprivation include difficulty focusing, wandering or disconnected thoughts, restlessness, irritability and trouble remembering simple details. Oh, and you’ll probably have extreme difficulty writing that essay too.
Next time you find yourself in a perpetual state of yawning, don’t feel guilty. Instead, do yourself a favour and have a little power-nap. According to Sara Mednick, PhD, a sleep expert at the University of California, just 15 to 20 minutes of snoozing can help give you a boost of alertness and improve your motor functions. If you’re embarrassed to be seen in public in your fleece onesie, or if you drool in your sleep, fear not – sleeping is proven to make you instantly more attractive, that’s why they call it “beauty sleep” (not entirely factual, but probable). To assist you in your quest, several of CapU’s resident napping connoisseurs have shared their favourite spots; some are obvious, while others more obscure.
The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) lounge in the Maple building is probably the most obvious spot – it often has spare couches and is rarely completely full. With its pastel colours, it is reminiscent of a nursery and may help you regress back to a childhood state (you know, when it was still acceptable to nap all the time). Less obvious is the Treehouse. As CapU’s eco-design project, it provides a cool, zen-like alcove and is often unused. Just make sure it hasn’t been booked, and it’s yours to snooze in.
For self-identified women, there is the under-utilized Women’s Center in LB 137. It provides a quiet safe space, which is ideal for relaxing and studying, and all you need is your student card. Another spot you may not have considered is the office of Sue Dritmanis from the Communications Department. If you’re extra nice to her, and are up to the challenge of braving five flights of stairs (her office is located on the fifth floor of the Fir building), she claims she has a blanket and pillow in her office. Remember, it pays off to have friends in (literally) high places.
Wary of official spaces? There is also a quiet hallway at the top of the stairs just inside the library entrance with two couches. While there can be a rush of students when classes start and finish, it is usually a relatively silent hallway. Other coveted locations? Anywhere with warm air vents.
So, to the countless sleepless students who roam the campus like zombies, before you down another cup of coffee (which, according to Mednick, actually decreases memory function), make sure you utilize one of CapU’s unofficial siesta-spots. And if none of these locations appeal to you, then it’s time for you to do some sleuthing, and get to know the campus a little better. Your cognitive functioning depends upon it.