No one doubts Cal Poly students work hard. What people might not know is that they nap even harder. In fact, Cal Poly was rated the 7th best college for sleep health in a study conducted by Sleepoplis out of 133 universities in the United States, and @CalPolySleeps on Instagram has been documenting napping culture on campus since 2013.
The current owner was passed the account from a lab partner who graduated. They opted to stay anonymous, taking the role of a behind-the-scenes curator instead of imposing their own personality on the account. The mystery is, arguably, part of what draws so many people in. For now let’s call them the nap master.
The account currently has just under 8,000 followers. Why do so many people care about off guard napping?
“Not getting enough sleep is a struggle people can relate to,” the nap master said. “For a lot of us, naps are vital, and we have to take them whenever an opportunity presents itself. Sometimes perfectly presentable people fall asleep in a hilarious way or an interesting setting – both make great content.”
Besides giving its followers a laugh, the account takes student involvement to the next level.
“Some people are great at finding nappers and will send in photos almost every day,” the nap master said. “Others have friends or roommates that can fall asleep anywhere.”
Computer engineering freshman Catherine Phan is one of the latter people.
“I didn’t even realize that I fell asleep, actually,” Phan said about the moment she was caught napping on a friend’s shoulder. “I kind of doze off pretty easily. For me, I can sleep anywhere, really fast. I feel like a lot of students are sleep deprived, so we tend to doze off without knowing . . . Adulting is tiring.”
Napping on campus now has potentially exciting outcomes.
“You have no idea who or how many people saw you, but you check your phone to find a bunch of your friends DMd you a post of you caught slipping,” the nap master said.
The nap master said followers have told them they check the page after napping just to see if they made it on.
Some students send in the photos themselves, like architecture sophomore Brennan Kaufmann, who fell asleep while working long hours on a project. When he woke up, a friend showed him the picture and they decided to send it in.
“It was just more funny between us than anything because it actually got posted like a week or two later,” Kaufmann said.
After pulling many all-nighters, he said he finds it comforting to see others going through the same struggle.
“It kind of validates your sleeping,” Kaufmann said. “Everyone is going though the same rough patch. It’s nice to see other people getting sleep where they can.”
The nap master said their favorite kind of posts are those of Week of Welcome (WOW) leaders or WOWies exhausted by the week’s work. Specifically, they said their favorite post is from January 5, 2019.
“The student featured is fast asleep, pencil in hand, at the teacher’s desk in the front of the class,” the nap master said. “I don’t know who he is, but I feel for him.”
If anyone objects to their picture being posted, it will be swiftly deleted as soon as the owner receives their message, assuring that shy nappers can rest in peace.
Perhaps the reason the account is so relatable is that the owner is a frequent napper themself.
“I take naps around campus all the time,” the nap master said. “My favorite place is Orfalea Lawn. There are plenty of shade trees, and it’s less busy than Dexter.”
But they have not been caught sleeping on the job — yet.