AKRON, Ohio — The University of Akron is giving students on-campus a way to reset without having to retreat to their dorms or off-campus housing with nap pods, according to a news release from the university.
There are four nap pods installed at three locations on campus for students to take 20-minute refresher naps to boost moods, creativity and focus.
“There are several research studies that highlight the correlation of mental health and sleep, so part of the intent to offer nap pods was to provide a unique mental health resource to our students,” said Alison Doehring, the director of ZipAssist, the university’s student advocacy and support office.
Data from the National Sleep Foundation shows anywhere from 76-90% of college students fall short on the recommended eight hours of sleep, with studies showing that can impact a student’s stress levels, their weight, their immune system and their focus.
Doehring told News 5 that a recent study at the University of Akron showed a rise in anxiety and depression, which prompted a search for possible solutions.
"I think this pandemic continued to really create this culture of care," she explained. "We all have a way to understand mental health maybe a little bit different."
Each pod features a built-in timer, a privacy visor and sleep music inside. The visor, footrest and seat are adjustable to optimize comfort during a power nap.
“I was skeptical about them at first, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my 20-minute power nap,” said Olivia Nigro, a student at Akron. “It's really cool seeing this kind of technology being used at the University, especially in a way that benefits students and their mental health.”
The four pods, plus cleaning and sanitizing equipment, cost about $52,000 and were funded by Governor Mike DeWine’s Emergency Education Relief through the Ohio Department of Higher Education, money specifically meant to target behavioral health on Ohio college and university campuses.
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