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Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Last updated: 5:15pm

Nap rooms on campus would be beneficial



Colleges across the nation are considering building nap rooms after numerous health studies have demonstrated the importance of sleep. UA students would greatly benefit from having an on-campus location where they could catch a few “Zs” between classes.

The Siesta Room at the University of Colorado at Boulder has been a relaxing space for students to snooze since its addition to the campus in 2009. The room is filled with beanbags, mats, and couches while supervisors look after their belongings.

In February, a student petition circulated the Harvard University campus about building a nap room, as well. Other schools, such as the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California Davis, have instead created nap maps that point out the best locations on campus to catch a power nap between classes.

Diana Englert, an undeclared sophomore, said she would use a nap room if there was one on campus.

“I stay up late doing homework so I am tired during the day and I can’t seem to break that habit,” Englert said. “Sometimes I will stay up really late studying for an exam or something and then I’ll have that exam the next day but I’m too tired to focus.”

Englert estimates she gets about 6.5 hours of sleep each day.

Dr. Merrill Mitler, a neuroscientist from the National Institutes of Health, reported in April that “sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood.”

Neuroscientist Russell Foster even claimed at TEDGlobal 2013 that “sleep, in a single behavior, is the most important thing that we do” — or at least the most important thing that we should be doing.

On average, college students only sleep for 6-6.9 hours each night, according to the University Health Center at the University of Georgia, which is just barely reaching the 7-9 hours of sleep that the National Sleep Foundation suggests for those over the age of 18.

Who knows more about all-night study sessions, the dreaded nod-off during lecture or the importance of an early morning Starbucks than college students? For UA students juggling heavy course loads, jobs, extracurricular activities and sweating it out in the sun every day, a designated area to sleep would be extremely convenient.

Kimberly Young, a molecular and cellular biology junior, lives about an hour away from campus, which makes running home for a quick nap very difficult, she said. She said she gets about 5-6 hours of sleep a night on average.

“Some days it is really hard to get a full night sleep and you have to stop and take a break or else you are going to crash,” Young said. “I have a lot of breaks between classes and sometimes there is just nothing to study and you can really benefit from a power nap.”

Young also added that this is a topic she has thought about before and has a very direct message for the UA administration.

“Please build those nap rooms! It would be so amazing,” she said.

With overwhelming evidence that sleep benefits the mind, body and spirit, nap rooms on campus would be a welcome addition to college culture at the UA.

Shelby Thomas is a sophomore studying journalism and sociology. Follow her @alayneshelby.


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