Student Proposes Nap Room at Harvard College

By Catherine Groux
Posted March 06, 2013 11:00 AM

Harvard College might create a nap room for its students.
Harvard College might create a nap room for its students.

In order to help students recharge and refresh between classes, Harvard College sophomore Yuqi Hou recently proposed the institution create a designated nap room on campus, the Boston Globe reports. Hou launched an online petition for the nap room through Harvard's "We the Crimson" program, which encourages direct communication between bachelor's degree seekers and school administrators.

With more than 190 votes in support of the nap room, Hou's plan was sent to the desk of Evelynn M. Hammonds, the dean of Harvard College. Pitching the idea to school administrators, Hou proposed a dimly lit room divided by curtains to give students a bit of privacy in their small space, which would feature only a cushion on the floor.

"Most students operate daily on a sleep deficit, to the detriment of their health and productivity," said Hou, an applied math major. "For those getting insufficient sleep at night, naps can provide alertness and help students take a break from their hectic schedules."

Schools Set Precedents for Nap Rooms

As Hou explained to Harvard faculty, there is already a precedent for nap rooms on college campuses. The University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, built a room dubbed Siesta in 2009. The public room, filled with couches, sleeping mats and beanbags, was part of a larger effort by the university's Community Health program to highlight the dangers of poor sleeping habits, The Oklahoma Daily reports.

While students welcomed the addition of Siesta at the University of Colorado, other schools were not so quick to jump on the nap room bandwagon. Nancy Mergler, senior vice president and provost at the University of Oklahoma, told the Daily that while her institution currently features rest and relaxation rooms, space in the Oklahoma Memorial Union, the school's activity center, is limited.

"The Union is a very well-used space," Mergler explained. "As a student, what would you like to see taken away to provide a nap room?"

The Need for More Sleep

While some college faculty are still skeptical of creating nap rooms for their students, the need for more sleep among degree seekers is undeniable. According to a USA Today infographic, 81% of college students don't get enough sleep, which can lead to a poor academic performance. In fact, students who stay up late tend to have an average GPA of 2.65, while those who rise with the sun have average GPAs of 3.05. This is on top of the health, memory and judgment issues that can arise from a lack of sleep.

To stay healthy and focused, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between seven and nine hours of shuteye each night. If college students have a hard time sleeping, the foundation recommends they strive to exercise daily, finish eating at least two hours before bedtime and avoid caffeine and alcohol at night. 

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