Rebecca Smyth, law/journalism student from University of NSW calls for nap spaces in Universities. Meanwhile she and her fellow students have to rely on late nights, all-nighters and caffeine to get through.
During my first year I used to think how lazy and rude students were for nodding off in the middle of lectures. But then it happened to me. I woke up with a start when everyone trampled out of the lecture, realising I had drool crusted on my chin and coffee spillage down my jeans. As the mornings became more torturous I repeatedly vowed to have earlier nights for the next week…very wishful thinking. Either a late night work shift pops up or more assignments/extra readings require a large dosage of caffeine and a 2am bedtime.
Every morning I add my empty coffee cup to campus bins over-flowing with other coffee cups, Red Bull and fluorescent green V cans. A few friends of mine who do not have a desk at home often start their days at 6.30am and stay at the library until 11-12pm without a rest. Panayota, fashion design student at the University of Technology Sydney says all-nighters are the only way she can meet assignment deadlines.
“I pull all-nighters at least once a week during the semester and stayed up almost 48 hours to finish my major work last semester. I ate seven packets of zappos, half a cheesecake and drank six Red Bulls to pull me through!”
Not getting enough sleep can lead to dangerous situations. Amelia who studies psychology at the University of Macquarie confessed to falling asleep at the wheel.
“I had four assignments due that week…my eyes just couldn’t stay open on my long drive home. Thank goodness I was only going a slow pace when it happened. As soon as I bumped the curb I woke up”.
Although the majority of students daydream about getting a few more hours sleep, or even just an extra 20 minutes, there are no specific spaces (apart from mediocre bean-bags in the ‘chatting section’ of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) library) for students to lie down and recharge.
After chatting to a range of students from UNSW and running a social media campaign on the importance of sleep and day-time naps, the two major factors which seem to deter students from sleeping and napping is having no time and/or no suitable place.
“I love naps but it’s impossible to nap at uni. Not only is it too loud, but I feel a bit embarrassed sprawling on my desk or a bean bag trying to sleep,” said Katie, psychology student at UNSW.
UNSW Commerce student Chantal said, “I am a night studier. All universities could benefit from designated sleeping areas…I always get a neck-ache after power napping against library bookshelves”.
Daytime naps are essential for a drained demographic who struggle to get enough night time zzz’s. An afternoon siesta helps concentration levels and preserves sanity. Myself, friends and followers of my siesta campaign, remain puzzled at the fact that only one Australian university, Edith Cowan in Perth, has taken action to improve student’s opportunity to sleep by investing in on-campus sleeping pods.