College students do not get enough sleep, but cranky undergraduates may have something to look forward to: napping-designated spaces are popping up on more and more campuses across the country. Addressing the reality that many students do not get the recommended amount of sleep each night, colleges are adding nap-designed spaces or setting up nap stations in their libraries, thereby allowing students to have some rest during their studying time.
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is among the first in the nation to set up its napping station this semester in its Shapiro Undergraduate Library. The space was the brainchild of senior Adrian Bazbaz, an aerospace engineering major, who is also a member of the student government. Bazbaz told Time that after seeing his peers “just put their backpacks on the table and lie on them,” he thought that it would be a good idea for the university to provide an actual napping space to address student needs.
Vivian Chen, a senior Math major at Michigan, spoke positively of the new napping arrangements. “The nap cots are available in the library during finals week. It was great to see that students who study for finals and stay up in the library can finally find spots to rest.”
Ryan DeAngelis, a senior engineering major, uses the setup in the library, even though he lives on campus. He stressed the increased productivity that can come from a short nap. The napping space “forces you to stay there…You’re going to wake up in 20 minutes and keep working, but if you go back to the dorm, you’re tempted to fall asleep and then maybe procrastinate ‘til the morning.”
In August, the university brought the nap stations to the next level, adding fancy MetroNaps Energy pods similar to the ones that Google provides to its staff. MetroNaps Energy is a chair specially designed for napping. It can play soft music to relax users, who can customize the duration of their naps or choose the pre-programmed 20 minutes to rest.
Many students claim that they usually sleep on the hard desks in the library, and some of them feel uncomfortable sleeping in front of others. Meredith Pilcher, 22, a senior graphic design major at James Madison University, said she “used to go into the library and find a comfy chair in between classes to close my eyes for a while, but I always felt awkward sleeping in front of people.” Administrators hope that the nap cots and pods will provide a real, clean and personal space for students to relax.
At the center of this push is the recognition of how important sleep is for students’ productivity and physical well-being. Students are able to study more efficiently after power naps. Sara Mednick, an assistant professor from the University of California—Riverside, stressed that the introduction of napping spaces will not only improve the health of students affected but also their final grades.