Amazing Grace and the Library Z Zone!

Grace Bamber (check name)Sleep Pod

I chatted with Eureka! 2014 finalist Grace Bamber this week about her soon to be launched new sleep-pod competition idea. Here is what Grace had to say about her student-inspired nap area and her experience of being part of Eureka! 2014 last year.

“About this time last year, an advertisement popped up on blackboard for the Eureka! Innovation Challenge Event. The first prize of £1000 worth of vouchers was tempting, but above all it was an opportunity to do something worthwhile for students. I was hesitant to enter, but figured “it’s worth a shot”.

I never expected to be shortlisted to the final with my idea to introduce “sleep pods”. Looking around campus, it’s actually quite funny to see the crazy places that people doze off, and we realise that coffee doesn’t always cut it at 3am in the Ali G. Short naps benefit alertness, productivity, wellbeing and learning, yet still my idea was met with a mixed response. People seemed to either love it, or were completely confused. One of the judges even compared my idea to a hotel, and asked if I would be providing “pod service” to deliver refreshments! However, companies like Virgin Active and Google are jumping on the bandwagon, and it just makes sense that in providing a 24 hour learning environment, we cater for the 24 hour needs of students.

Although I didn’t come out in the top three, being a finalist was the highlight of my first year at UoM, and I am delighted that next month we will be introducing a sleep pod to AGLC. Presenting at the contact theatre with Phil Jupitus as a host was the most nervous I’ve ever felt, but knowing that all this is happening because of me makes the pressure worth it.

Keep your eyes posted for more information on the soon to be launched z zone!



An exciting addition is coming soon to the Learning Commons in the shape of a Sleep Pod (one of the ideas from Eureka 2014).

This is great news indeed but has got me thinking of other ways the Library can potentially assist students with relaxation aids.

I had the idea of a meditation suite, equipped with a number of small booths (bookable or open access) with a comfy chair (or cushion, if preferred).

Headphones could be provided with options for various guided meditations of differing lengths.

Research has shown that even a three minute breathing exercise can be helpful in lowering stress levels and calming the nervous system, so if a student is pushed for time they could just pop in for this – or ten minutes or fifteen minutes.

There could be meditations with instructions on breathing and mindfulness exercises or just relaxing music or nature sounds (rain fall or bird song) depending on individual tastes.

The lighting in the room would be low and calming with perhaps some artwork designed to calm and centre the person entering.

During the well-being activities the Library hosted during exam time in January 2014, many of the students commented that they enjoyed these activities because it didn’t mean giving up their study space as they could literally nip upstairs for massage or meditation and return in less than half an hour, refreshed and focused to get on with their work,

The meditation suite would require minimum staffing and offer an easy but effective way for time out during both exam time and any other time.