opinion

New sleeping pod designs may be useful on college campuses



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A number of manufacturers have come up with office "sleep pods," designed for a power nap or more elaborate relaxation techniques.  Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Two companies in Manhattan have opened sleeping pods to rent by the hour. The Dreamery and Nap York are offering naps to those living in the city that prides itself on never sleeping. 

These clearly can be of use to some people; working in the city may not permit workers enough time to run home during their lunch break to take a nap and run back to work. Similarly, sleeping pods have become increasingly popular at airports across the globe for those with layovers.

We have to recognize that there might even be a market for sleeping pods on college campuses. With a campus as large as IU Bloomington’s there isn’t really enough time for the roughly 65 percent of students who live off campus to rush home to nap before their next class. It isn’t uncommon to walk through the south lounge of the Indiana Memorial Union and see several people asleep on the couches, so clearly there is a need for sleep that students aren’t always getting at home at night.

Although these sleep pods on our campus seem quite enticing, they do beg the question of why we need them in the first place.

It is no surprise that college students aren’t getting enough sleep. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a few years ago that about a third of college students are not getting at least seven hours of sleep — the recommended amount per day. 

College students are overworked and overstressed. We are constantly pushed to our limit to try and be the most involved, prepare for graduate school or the workforce, build our resumes and get the best summer internships, all while doing well in our classes.

Alongside our academics come our social lives. The CDC also encourages us to engage socially in order to maintain good health. We need to manage our stress by forgetting about our worries every once in a while and interacting with others. But that proves difficult when a university environment is innately stressful.

Stressful environments cause anxiety, loss of sleep and a number of physical and mental health issues. The CDC reports that overworking and overstressing can even be factors in substance abuse. 

With all of this data, it is clear that universities and other organizations ought to do something about it. The companies offering daytime naps are a start.

Universities may benefit from this concept; there would certainly be a market for these sleeping pods, but we have to wonder if they are the best fix for such a problem. 

This sounds beneficial, and would probably even make a difference in students’ academic performances. However, it may just be a Band-Aid fix to a more serious wound to college students’ lives. The real solution may be left up to students themselves — to take seriously the need for sleep, and make it just as much of a priority as any other part of the day. 

Until that magical day when students forget about stress and get enough sleep at night all on their own, universities must help their students in this endeavor. Whether it be sleeping pods or not, students have had the need for some stress management, and a daily nap on campus might just be a start.

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