The Best Places to Nap on Campus

Marlon Castillo/New University

By Jenny Lyons

We all know that feeling of struggling to stay awake in class: that losing battle with heavy eyelids and nodding heads as the last sip of Starbucks double shot wears offs into the dim abyss of a lecture hall darkened for the upcoming PowerPoint presentation. It’s that point in the quarter when college students are hit hard with the sleep debt we’ve been accumulating for the past six weeks (really though, is there ever a point in the quarter when we’re not sleep deprived?). Nap attacks lurk in every lecture hall.

While the graciously cushioned chairs of HIB 100, as in most of UC Irvine’s lecture halls, are a tempting spot for a quick in-class snooze, there are better places on campus to catch a little shut-eye, and better times for that matter. We all know no one enjoys listening to their classmate snore in the seat next to them for 80 minutes; plus, you might miss something important. So if you’re having an exceptionally sleepy day, and caffeine just is not cutting it, there are a ton of great spots on campus to grab a quick nap.

UCI is in beautiful Southern California, so what’s a better way to enjoy the sunshine and the ocean breeze than to take a little break in the fresh air? Aldrich Park is one of the best places to relax on campus. You might even forget that you’re at school. One of the best things about the park is that there is never a shortage of space to sprawl out and enjoy a mid-day napping session in all of its glory.

The best spot for a nap in Aldrich is on any of the many grassy, green hills. Most of them are at that perfect angle for soaking up some sun and finding that ultimate sleeping position. When it gets too hot to handle, there are plenty of trees to provide shade. If you’re allergic to grass or have a rare phobia of lying on the ground, you can always kick it like a classy vagabond and sleep on one of the many benches in the park. They are actually surprisingly comfortable, in case you were wondering. Being in the center of campus, the park is also the easiest place to shuffle off to your next class quickly if your nap runs a little long. Also, if you haven’t taken a moment to notice, Aldrich Park is ridiculously relaxing. Enjoy it.

While the park is pretty magical, the winter months are  approaching fast and even lovely Irvine gets hit with the occasional downpour. No matter how much you love the rain, you probably shouldn’t nap in it. So if you’re looking for a dry place to rest your eyes, there are some great indoor locales as well. For example, if the campus Starbucks is relatively empty — it happens — they have some comfortable couches. If you can sleep through waves of customers and coffee orders, this is a lovely place for a nap. It’s cozy, warm, and smells like happiness, and by that I mean coffee. As a perk, you can easily grab a quick pick-me-up drink to shake off the post-nap fog on your way out.

Just around the corner is a magical land of napping, also known as the Student Center. While the Student Center is better known for its convenient food court and hospitable study areas, it is absolutely full of excellent spots for a little siesta.

As a commuting student who gets bored of sleeping in the car on occasion, I am particularly fond of this gem on campus. Some of the great spots include Courtyard Study Lounge and the Doheney Beach Lounge, both located on level one of the center. Both of these are graciously stocked with couches, comfy chairs, and those handy foot rests that double as additional chairs or tables. Score! They are both relatively peaceful and quiet (and not included in the lovely daily tour route that loudly shuffles through the Terrace Lounge several times a day. Just saying). The nice thing about all of these lounges is that the furniture is easily movable so you can rearrange and create a perfect napping nest/study campground.

Despite the variety of snazzy lounges, the very best  napping spots are in the no-man’s land  (technically part of the Pacific Ballroom lobby) near Computer Lab, you know, around the corner from Myrmey, our local, friendly, if somewhat creepy, stuffed anteater in a case. Stashed in the corners of this area are a few small collections of superbly comfortable chairs and benches. This little nook of campus is surprisingly quiet and secluded, making it an excellent place to catch a few Z’s. Be warned though, these corners are hot property and once someone claims one of them they tend to camp out. If you ever have the chance to curl up in this napper’s paradise you’ll understand why.

Long gone are the blissful days of kindergarten sleeping mats and daily nap time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take back the afternoon with your own university style mid-day snooze. So, next time you feel yourself slipping into that twilight of an in-class coma, make some time to kick back and try to catch up with that nasty sleep debt.