I grew up hating naps.
This may have been due to the traumatic experience of waking up from a nap when I was six years old to the sound of chainsaws cutting down my favorite climbing tree.
Or it may have been I felt I was wasting nearly an hour – sometimes accidentally more – of my day that could have been spent doing homework, working on a creative project or getting in touch with someone who could help me get the job I wanted.
Or in the worst case, that I was just procrastinating. Really, the list is endless because anything is more beneficial than a nap. Or is it?
According to OnlineMBA, studies show a simple 26-minute nap can boost performance by as much as 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent. Employers who prefer to have well-rested employees on the job, such as Google, Ben and Jerry’s and Zappos, have added designated napping areas to their facilities.
Being college students, you and I both know how valuable, beneficial and revitalizing a nap is – especially if you’ve had to pull an all-nighter or are passing between classes that just exhaust you.
I’ve seen students plop outside and nap under a tree. I’ve seen students curl up in corners of classroom buildings and Union South. I’ve also heard students tell their friends after class they are going home just to nap.
Let me ask you this: would you be willing to advocate for napping stations on campus?
For any nurses, doctors or medical assistants reading, I’m going to beg your forgiveness for this comparison. Students are like workers in a hospital: overworked, underappreciated, racing from one room to another and always given more than they can handle. The working lifestyles are not too different.
The solution hospitals have arrived at has not been to lower the workload, hours or expectations. They merely allow their workers – surgeons, nurses and practitioners – a place to rest.
If your mind jumps to the “nap station” in the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” let’s save those thoughts for a later column.
Now I know there are possible objections, so let me take a stab at rebutting them. Worried about stolen items? Add lockers or cuddle with your backpack. Worried about the nap stations not positively representing the campus to visitors? Track the grades of students who actively use the nap stations. Worried about it not catching on? Let me respond to this in two parts.
First, I’m not advocating for the high-tech sleeping pods used at Google. Nor am I hoping for a new building specifically created in which to nap. What seems acceptable is a room or two, in certain buildings scattered around campus, dedicated to providing a comfortable and relaxing location to nap.
This idea isn’t so far-fetched. Yuqi Hou, a Harvard College sophomore, recently got apetition signed and handed over to the dean for review, advocating for “a campus nap room, complete with individual cushions, which would be divided by curtains to allow privacy.” Hou agrees with me when he writes, “going back to the dorm to nap is not time-effective.”
While I opened with a discussion of the negative consequences of napping, I now realize creating an area to rest and recuperate has exactly the opposite effect.
Realistically speaking, it’s plausible students are the largest demographic of nappers. At the University of Wisconsin, we need to continue to discover new ways to help students put in the maximum amount of effort and creativity. We need to assure energy levels are high, and no student is ever found dozing off even in the most – for lack of better term – boring class.
A nap station isn’t too much to ask for, and I cannot think of a way that it would negatively impact our campus.
If you can think of any ways nap stations would negatively impact our campus, or if you want to support nap station advocacy, visit the online version of this article and leave a comment or send me an email.
Garth Beyer ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in journalism.