No rest for the wicked: BYU students sleep in unique places on campus

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A BYU student sleeps on campus with a mask over his face. Many students take naps or fall asleep during class at BYU. (@BYUsleeps on Instagram)

There may be no rest for the wicked, but there is plenty of rest for the righteous. BYU students can be found sleeping anywhere on campus, from sprawling out in the grass to curling up in a hallway, and a student-run Instagram page documents it all.

The @byusleeps account was created in October 2012 when three friends in a BYU accounting class decided they had seen too many people sleeping through class to not make a joke about it. The group started out small with only about 10 of them working together to find the strangest sleeping spots on campus. Then other students started sending in their own takes on the #byusleeps trend.

The admins told The Daily Universe in 2016 that part of the joy of their account was being able to remain anonymous, allowing the focus to remain on the jokes. 

The three admins have since graduated from BYU but still maintain the account with the help of other contributors.

Holly Cluff is a student from Cedar Hills. She said she hasn’t fallen asleep in class before but has napped on campus plenty of times. She chooses convenience over comfort, snoozing on the couches in the Clyde Engineering Building and the couch in the Clyde Building’s mothers’ room.

“All I know is @byusleeps makes napping a much more nerve-wracking experience,” Cluff laughed. “I don’t think I’ve ever ended up on it, though!”

BYU professor Dennis Wright points and laughs at student Megan Sarah Smith after she fell asleep in his class. (@BYUsleeps on Instagram)

Pandemic napping

Moving classes online during the COVID-19 pandemic gave BYU students a new way to catch their peers sleeping in class: through Zoom. 

Student Megan Sarah Smith fell asleep during final project presentations in Dennis Wright’s costume designing class during Fall Semester 2020.

“After I presented, I remember watching two more students present and then I completely blacked out,” Smith said. “I woke up about 1.5 hours later with a text from my professor of the photo he took of me!”

Melinda Morgan is from Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She sometimes naps on the long benches in the Joseph F. Smith Building and said she once dozed off during an online class.

“One moment I was listening and the next I was leaning over and my computer wasn’t going in my direction,” Morgan said. “Thankfully either the teacher didn’t notice, didn’t care or was being very kind!”

Back on campus

With most students back on campus and Zoom growing distant in the rearview mirror, there are plenty more chances to catch sleeping students during class.

These graphs show percentages of surveyed BYU students who have fallen asleep, dozed off or haven’t fallen asleep in classes, as well as those who have or have not napped on campus. (Made with Canva by Gabrielle Shiozawa)

The Daily Universe conducted a study of 168 BYU students using voluntary responses from the newspaper’s Instagram stories, random students in the Wilkinson Student Center and others around campus. Of those surveyed, a slim majority, 41% of students, said they’ve only dozed off for a moment but haven’t actually slept in class. Thirty-eight percent said they’ve fallen asleep in classes, and 21% said they haven’t done so. As for those who have napped on campus, 51% said they have found a place to snooze in BYU’s buildings or on their lawns and 49% said they haven’t.

Clarissa Walker said she has accidentally fallen asleep in class before and chooses to nap on the grass by the JFSB when it’s sunny outside. Walker, who comes from Statesville, North Carolina, has also seen plenty of nappers on campus, such as the time she found six people asleep on the second floor of the Joseph Smith Building.

“It was like a little pack of tired college students napping together,” Walker said. “It made me wonder if there was a gas leak until I remembered midterms were the next week.”

Maryn Rolfson is from Edmonton, Canada. She said she fell asleep in the periodicals section of the library during her freshman year and lost her shoes as a result.

“When I woke up, my shoes were gone and the thief left a note that said, ‘you snooze you lose your shoes!,'” Rolfson said. “I had to go to my next class without shoes before my friend gave them back to me the next day.”

Hannah Jenkins from Bountiful has never napped on campus on purpose but has fallen asleep in class before. “When I was a freshman, I fell asleep in the front row in a nutrition class and snored so loudly I woke myself up,” she said.

Many interviewed students were hesitant to share their favorite napping spots at BYU, wanting to keep them a secret. Answers that were shared ranged from couches in the library to the mothers’ rooms in women’s bathrooms.

Alexis Grammer is from Thornville, Ohio. She said she once fell asleep in the library and woke up to see two other people asleep next to her.

“It seems that I started an impromptu slumber party!” Grammer said.

Kate Jeffries thought it was strange how many people nap on campus when she first got to BYU. Now, as a fellow tired college student, she said she understands them. Jeffries, from Wilsonville, Oregon, has only dozed off briefly in classes before but says the periodicals are a great place to take a nap.

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