Recently, we were contacted by David Caldicott, a physics student at the University of Leeds in the UK. David is trying something unique. He wants to have a school-sanctioned napping club where members could go at any time during the day to catch a few winks. We interviewed David via email:
Tell us about your plans for this “nap club”
My plans for the Napping Society (NapSoc) are first of all to negotiate with the University Union for the allocation of a room in the Union building; of which there are many unused. Provided we are able to secure a room, we will then purchase a number of foam camping mats, sleep masks and pillows from online vendors. Student will then be able to join the society for £8-10, be given their own sleep mask and allowed access to the nap-room between about 10am and 3pm.
Students will come to the room, confirm their membership with the moderator, then tell the moderator what time they want to be woken. The moderator will then keep an eye on the room to make sure there is no noise and silly behavior, and act as a ‘silent-alarm’ for students.
We will also be providing support and advice on how best to take naps, as well as other health and study advice. We want to focus on the health benefits of the nap, not just a place for hung-over students.
Why do you think it’s a good idea for students to rest or take a nap in the middle of the day?
I have always been an irregular sleeper and until I discovered napping last year I had just assumed that I would always feel tired, as I rarely slept more than 5-6 hours at night. When I started taking naps everything changed. I suddenly felt more alert during the day, more energised to work harder and much more fun to be with socially.
As I researched napping more, I became passionate about it and started telling everyone; to which I was often met with ‘you’re just lazy’ or ‘humans are supposed to only sleep at night’. These stigmas are so engrained in our modern world and I decided I would be part of the movement to break down these ridiculous ideas.
What has been the early response around campus?
Early response around campus has been encouraging. As I only decided to go through with this right at the start of summer when most students had already gone home I was worried that I couldn’t get the 20 signatures I needed to start the application process. I went into campus and within half an hour had all 20 signatures, despite the very small number of students left!
I have also started a Facebook group to gauge interest and we have about 50 members so far, many of whom are very enthusiastic. I hope this will rise significantly when term starts and students start thinking about University again.
Do you know of any other college/university that’s doing anything like this?
I have found two Universities that are doing a similar thing, but in both cases they are small and cater for the ones who started them. I believe that it should not just be a place for me and other current nappers to use, but that we should be encouraging students who don’t take naps to join as well, and we will do this through intensive advertising.
Both mentioned Universities are in the US, and there are none in the UK that I could find doing anything remotely like this. I hope this will tempt the Union into letting us do it so that they can say they were the first!