Illustration: Alanna Rizza

RSU plans to create designated nap spaces on campus by January 2019

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By Tyler Griffin

The days of dozing off in lecture halls may soon be coming to an end.

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is working to bring nap pods to campus by the end of the semester, fulfilling a campaign promise to partner with Ryerson facilities and create a designated space for students to recharge.

The project is still in its early stages, as the RSU is undecided about whether they will implement nap pods or a nap room into the Student Campus Centre (SCC). RSU President Ram Ganesh said the decision will depend on whichever option is more “fiscally responsible,” citing past criticisms of the RSU’s budget spending.

“The biggest reason behind the nap spaces is the situation Ryerson is in: We’re a commuter school,” said Salman Faruqi, RSU vice-president education. “A large percentage of the population commutes and a lot of students struggle to get enough sleep, struggle on the commute… We wanted to start an initiative related to those things to help students out.”

The nap space would have an online booking feature similar to the ones used for collaborative work rooms in the Student Learning Centre (SLC), according to Ganesh. In terms of hygiene, he said the pods would work similar to gym equipment, requiring students to wipe them down with provided cleaning supplies after each use.

Nap pods are futuristic cylindrical pods, usually made from plastic and acrylic materials, with a gym mat inside. The idea is that users can enter the pods to catch up on missed sleep, mentally recharge or just take some quiet time to be mindful—all in an effort to boost health and productivity.

Although lack of sleep has detrimental effects on academic success and overall health, students rarely seek out help. A cross-campus survey conducted by the University of Alberta reported that over 80 per cent of the students suffering from insufficient sleep had not sought out solutions, highlighting the need for campus intervention strategies.

The pods have popped up on some post-secondary institutions already. The British Columbia Institute of Technology and University of Guelph-Humber have already installed nap spaces on their campuses. Ganesh said he made a visit to Humber’s sleep lounge and will use it as a model for the initiative.

The RSU said Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi has agreed to take the pilot project to the university’s Board of Directors, but approval will depend on the response of students.

“We’re thinking of doing a trial period in the SCC, because we have more control over this space than we do other spaces,” said Faruqi. “With a pilot project like this, any sort of data or previous experience really sort of helps in those conversations you have with the university administration.”

Ganesh added that the project has stayed alive mostly due to student interest.

Emily Langton, a third-year English student, said her friends often create makeshift beds in the SLC’s group work rooms so they can take naps between classes.

“I think it’s a really good idea to have a space for naps, especially because we’re a commuter school,” said Langton. “One or two times when I’ve had a nap on campus, I’ve felt anxious about leaving my stuff out while I’m sleeping.”

However, not all commuters are as taken with the idea of on-campus nap spaces.

“I’d rather just get through the day and be tired than unwind in this non-personal space,” said Antoni James, a third-year film studies student.

“If I really needed to catch up on sleep that bad I would grab a coffee or just leave class and go home.”

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