Campuses as various as Washington State University, the University of Miami, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Wesleyan have installed nap pods.
With final exams approaching, sleep-deprived students are dozing off in library cubicles across the land. But some campuses are acknowledging the problem, investing in nap nooks and pods — those futuristic chaises that became insta-trendy when Google installed them at its Mountain View, California, headquarters back in the aughts.
Campuses as various as Washington State University, the University of Miami, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Wesleyan have installed pods.
Kotaro Aoki, a philosophy major at Wesleyan, likes that others can’t watch him under the retractable visor. He naps five days a week: “If you want to achieve anything, you are most likely to be in need of some napping during daytime.”
When WSU’s new Chinook Student Center opens in Pullman next year, it will include as many as 10 or 15 pods with ambient music and timers.”
When WSU’s new Chinook Student Center — a renovated Bookie Building — opens in Pullman next year, it will include as many as 10 or 15 pods with ambient music and timers, according to Campus Technology.
Pods don’t come cheap. Colleges pay about $9,000 for MetroNaps’ EnergyPod, with timer and soothing music. (California State University, Northridge, has six.)
There are alternatives. Wake Forest University has added five “luxurious recliners” in its tech-free ZieSta Room, in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.
In James Madison University’s Nap Nook in the student center, six oversize beanbags are in constant weekday use — from 9 to 5, at 20- to 30-minute zzz’s, that’s 400 naps a week, or 6,400 a semester, estimates Dave Barnes, director of University Unions. (Antimicrobial pillows can be checked out but seldom are.)
If all that doesn’t put you to sleep, this might: Arianna Huffington, publisher turned mindfulness evangelist, started a 50-campus #SleepRevolution College Tour on April 8 to raise awareness of the link between sleep deprivation and stress-related mental health issues in college — and also to publicize her new book, “Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.”
Dr. Robert Stickgold, director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Sleep and Cognition, would approve. While his research has shown that naps enhance memory, learning and motor skills, he takes issue with the napping trend.
“Using naps to try to maintain function in the face of larger sleep deficits is a disaster waiting to occur,” he says. “Students are not getting enough sleep, and it would be a hundred times better to tackle that problem head-on.”