Shutting books for shut-eye

Have you ever studied in Gelman? Then you’ve seen the nappers. They can be found everywhere, but often they’re either on the end corner of the fourth floor or in the middle of the sixth floor. On one chair or two, on their side, their head back, curled in a ball and with coats serving as pillows, they nap.

“I have a wife and son at home, so the library grew on me as the ideal solution,” said Chris Gross, a graduate student. “When I’m really tired I actually come to Gelman just to sleep.”

At first glance, the library is an unlikely place to nap, but some students see Gelman as an easier place to relax than their dorm room.

“My roommate is constantly watching TV so I have to come to the library to be able to study,” senior Aurore Abdoul-Maninroudine said.

She and many other nap-takers come to Gelman to study because they can’t do so at home. Gross said he started napping in the library at first “by accident.” But then after a few times of falling asleep it became habitual.

The art of napping at the Gelman library is a specific one – there are places, positions and rules. Some patterns can be traced, for example students tend to nap after lunch or after dinner. Most students say they feel invigorated after their power naps while Abdoul-Maninroudine always feels slightly nauseous when she wakes up.

But there are also two types of naps: the long ones and the short ones. For the long ones – still no more than 30 minutes – nappers either go sleep on the middle of the sixth floor because, as junior Noureen Kapadia puts it, “those big red comfy couches are just irresistible,” or at the back of the fourth floor where two purple brownish leather armchairs are discreetly installed.

Or you can follow Abdoul-Maninroudine’s method: she reads with her head into her hand, with her hand gradually slipping until her nose ends up on her book. After that, a nap is pretty inevitable.

It’s a whole process for Kapadia: “First I put my feet on the coffee table then my head goes on the shoulder of the couch. Then it starts gradually to fall from the shoulder to the arm of the couch at which point I join my hands and rest my head on them.”

Gross crosses his left leg on his right knee, which is propped against the desk so as not to move. Then he lays his head back as straight as possible. It’s not as easy as it sounds, he said, but you can feel a little uncomfortable sleeping in a public space.

“The first time I fell asleep I was a little embarrassed when I woke up, maybe because the library is supposed to be a place to study in and sleeping seemed inappropriate, but when I sat up I realized the guy on the facing desk was sleeping too,” he said.

Naps at the library could also lead to more unusual experiences. Abdoul-Maninroudine said she was once keeping a seat for a friend but she became tired and fell asleep.

“While sleeping, I kind of heard some noise and thought it was my friend, so when I woke up I started stretching and opened my arms for a hello hug. I got face-to-face with a 40-year-old Asian man. I was so embarrassed I apologized and he laughed it off,” said Abdoul-Maninroudine. “But now he remembers me and every time he sees me at the library he says hello.”

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