Know your university: The battle of the beds

A look at napping culture at the University of Winnipeg

  • Despite the noise, the mezzanine level of the Bulman Centre is one of the top places to nap at the U of W. Just bring headphones. – Antoinette Dyksman

  • Although the learning commons may be a little chilly for napping, it is definitely ‘spooner’ free and provides a bright open atmosphere. – Antoinette Dyksman

To nap or not to nap?

You see them everywhere – dozing in corners of the library, napping on their notes in lecture halls and snoozing on various sofas. For stressed out students, sleep is a precious thing.

While some students would never dream of dozing off at school, others have mapped out the best nap spots at the University of Winnipeg.

Third-year politics student and seasoned university napper Amy Saydak is someone who often catches a wink between classes.

“School is so stressful and tiring,” she said. “I can’t get through a day of class after class without a break.”

Chris Rarick, acting director of security services at the U of W, said that students are free to nap at school if need be.

“I’d personally recommend they get a good night sleep ... but we are not annoyed by students napping on campus,” he said.

However, nappers do become bothersome if they make too much noise.

“We’ve actually had to wake people up because they are snoring,” Rarick said.

But before you go ahead and close those heavy lids, take a look at two of the most popular nap spots on campus.

1 – The Beddy-bye Bulman

With dimmed lighting and cushy chairs, the mezzanine level of the Bulman Centre lends itself well to tired students in desperate need of some shut-eye. On any given day, one can count several students dozing on makeshift beds of pushed-together lounge chairs.

Saydak deems the mez to be one of the prime napping spots at the university.

“It would be nice if there were more rooms like this,” she said, adding that because of its popularity, it sometimes proves difficult to snag a spot.

Although it is a prime place, the mez has its faults when it comes to its nap-ability.

“It sometimes gets way too noisy in here,” Saydak said.

When this is the case, Saydak simply pops in her earphones and lets her music lull her to sleep.

If public displays of affection give you nightmares, steer clear of the mez, as it also happens to be packed with spooning couples.

Katherine Simonsen, a first-year education student who frequently studies in the mez, said she witnessed a couple engaged in some risky behaviour on the sofas.

“She had a weird look on her face and he had a weird look on his face ... and he was thrusting,” she said, adding that she ended up calling security who came to break things up.

Rarick said that when this happens, security intervenes.

“We have had to talk with people in the past,” he said.

Simonsen said she doesn’t mind that students nap on the sofas, but spooning is a whole other story.

“They are spooning and taking up space for people who actually need to study,” she said.


2 – The Lights-out Learning Commons

The learning commons near the library is another popular spot for sleepy students.

“That is easily the best spot because no sex acts happen there, and it is dead quiet,” said Tim Coates, a first-year physics student. “When I do nap at school, that is where I sleep.”

And while it may be remarkably free of spooners, the so-called quiet room is not a napper’s utopia. Coates explained that a big drawback is its sub-arctic conditions. Saydak agreed.

“The quiet room is way too cold,” she said. “I’ve been meaning to bring a blanket.”

The brighter and more open environment of the learning commons also makes for a safer place to nap.

When it comes to napping safety, Rarick said that the more public the place, the better. He also cautioned students from dozing in low-traffic areas of the university.

“There is definitely a personal safety factor involved in students sleeping on campus,” he said, adding that they could be vulnerable to theft.

But Saydak said she doesn’t worry at all.

“I don’t think I really get deep sleep. Its kind of just dozing,” she said, adding that while she naps, she hangs on to her belongings and remains aware of her surroundings.


Published in Volume 64, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 25, 2010)

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