Where to Nap at Swarthmore College

According to Google, a nap is “a short sleep, especially during the day”. This definition is intentionally broad; there are many nuances to napping. Some people can survive by closing their eyes for 10 minutes (as done by  admissions intern Peter Foggo), while others need to sleep for three hours.

Regardless, we all need that (power) nap. According to Swarthmore Psychology professor and night owl Andrew Ward, the perfect time is 90 minutes. He said this during a lecture once, and it’s always stuck with me. To be more specific, a 90-minute nap is a full cycle: from light to deep sleep, including REM. You’re much less likely to experience sleep inertia, or the befuddled, impaired cognitive state after a nap.

But a lot of us don’t have the time for a full 90-minute session. Don’t fear! You can still reap the benefits of a power nap. While they don’t work for everyone, in general power naps are used for improving alertness in a pinch.  The ideal time is 10-20 minutes. Try to avoid 30 minutes because this gets into groggy territory.

Thankfully, there are tons of places on campus to nap, some better than others. In this post, we’ll explore the top 5 places to nap.

5. Sci Commons

“A restful Friday morning at the coffee bar”
Photo Credit: Sleeping Swatties

As suggested by its name, Sci Commons is a fairly common place to power nap. This is the perfect spot for the STEM crowd. It’s equipped with state of the art chairs with some calm natural lighting.

Final Verdict: A great location, but the lunch hour rush can ruin the otherwise quaint atmosphere.

4. Parrish Beach

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Photo Credit: Sleeping Swatties

This is one of the more iconic spots on Swat’s campus with many uses: barbeques, field days, and more. Some people grab a blanket and picnic with friends on Parrish Beach.  Others are more innovative, using the space to nap.

Final Verdict: Allowing you to choose sun or shade, Parrish Beach is a decent place to nap. However, the lawn is an open area so may not be ideal for private naps. 

3. A McCabe Bean Bag

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There’s a study room in McCabe filled with just bean bags. I think that says it all.

Final Verdict: McCabe has many nap spaces, but this one might just be the best. 

2. Amphitheater Hammock

Photo Credit: Naomi Park

This is a DIY approach. If you know someone with a hammock, have them set it up in the amphitheater. Factor in the chirping birds and rustling trees, and you’ve got some nice ambient noise.

Final Verdict: Although it requires more setup, in the long run the amphitheater is an ideal place to (power) nap. 

1. Your Own Bed

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Photo Credit: The Huffington Post

This is the most important item on this list. The other locations are swell, but nothing beats your own bed.

Final Verdict: Your dorm is always the best place to nap. Especially if you deck it out with stuff from Worthmore.

The more you know. For more tips and tricks, check out Swarthmore.edu’s OFFICIAL Sleep Support site. Napping isn’t a substitute for sleep; remember to nap wisely.

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