Colleges Now Offering ‘Safe Spaces’ for Students to Take Naps

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 1:07 pm, October 7, 2016

Over the past two years, universities have embraced nap pods and nap rooms to address what California State University calls “the sleep crisis on college campuses.” Predictably, they’re being branded as “a safe place to sleep.”

The nap areas are the stuff of preschool dreams.

In September, CSU-Fullerton brought a special nap trailer to campus, where students could take a 40-minute snooze in personalized compartments. Last semester, the same campus hosted a “Sleep Eazzy” event, designating a special nap area on campus.

Similarly, students can take a 45-minute nap throughout the day at CSU Northridge’s Oasis Wellness Center. The campus purchased six nap pods, which cost about $9,000 each and are outfitted with soft music and “subtle vibrations on the back.”

The University of Michigan took a lower-tech approach a few years ago, installing six vinyl cots in the undergraduate library. To make room for the nap spaces, the university removed a bunch of study tables.

A lot of thought has apparently gone into these nap pods. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County has a Student Sleep Priority Action Group Committee, with eight faculty members and several students.

They pulled together a full action plan in 2014, recommending the creation of “Retriever Rest Stops,” described as “a safe space for students to rest/nap.” It also advised that the university pull together a “Nap Map” so students could find all three on-campus nap hubs.

Not everyone’s taking this trend seriously. Last April Fool’s Day, Indiana University created a satirical video (which we initially fell for) advertising “Hoozier Snoozer” nap pods offer aromatherapy, a fleece blankie, and “cats for additional snuggle support, who can be called to the pod at the push of a button.”

These infantilizing nap rooms are infinitely mockable, but we’re still a little jealous. But not jealous enough to work at the Huffington Post.

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.