Nap room at U of C helps students catch up on needed sleep

Over-stressed and under-slept students at the University of Calgary are getting a chance this week to catch 40 winks on campus. The room in Mac Hall features dim lights, calming music and a gentle wake-up nudge instead of a noisy alarm clock.

Students' union says getting enough sleep can promote good mental health, fight stress

A student takes a break in the University of Calgary Students' Union nap room. (Scott Dippel/CBC )

Over-stressed and under-slept students at the University of Calgary are getting a chance to catch up on their sleep this week — on campus.

The U of C Students' Union has set up a nap room in MacEwan Hall.

The rules are simple.

Nappers have to show their student ID and let the volunteer supervisors know how many minutes they want to snooze before getting a wake-up nudge.

The lights are dimmed and calming new age music plays quietly. After their siesta, they get to keep the special pillows.

Forty minutes is the maximum nap time.

Kirsty McGowan, vice-president of the students' union, promised to set up a nap room when she ran for her job last spring.

She said getting enough sleep is important.

'It's a good way to take a break'

"Lack of sleep is one of the largest contributing factors to many mental health issues and mental health of students is a strong focus of the students' union. So I thought it was important to bring to light the fact that students should be prioritizing sleep," said McGowan.

And it's a time of year when students are feeling the pressure.

She said they're cramming for exams which start next week, final papers are due and many are trying to get more hours at their part-time jobs so they have money for the holidays.

Up to two dozen students have stopped by each day to catch a few winks.

Sana Kaleem popped in Thursday afternoon to give the nap room a try.

"I had work in the morning and then I want to study later on for my exam," Kaleem said.

"So it's a good way to take a break and just kind of get some rest and then refocus on school. It really helps with stress."

She stretched out for a 35-minute snooze.

This is a test run which will be evaluated by the students' union once it tallies up how many students used the room.

If there's demand, it's possible the nap room could be back at other times of the year.