Nap zone now located in Kirby Underground

Illustration by: Krista Mathes

Illustration by: Krista Mathes

A new UMD student project lead to the implementation of a ‘nap zone’ in the Kirby Underground from 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Dori Decker, wellness coordinator at UMD Health Services, explained why Health Services decided to utilize the Kirby Underground.

“The Kirby Underground is centrally located, and has an atmosphere is that is conducive to napping, we have considered other options, but thought we would try one space and see if it is utilized,” Decker said. “The time frame of the nap zone, 2 to 3 p.m., also aligns with UMD students' reported napping preference.“  

The Kirby Underground is located directly beneath the Kirby Student Center.  Photo: Connor Shea

The Kirby Underground is located directly beneath the Kirby Student Center. Photo: Connor Shea

The origins of this project came after Health Services administered a new survey.

“We decided to look further into students' sleep and how Health Services might be able to support students' sleep needs by administering an informal needs assessment,” Decker said.

A large percentage of respondents have either used naps or other sleep aids, such as sleep apps for their phone, to help mitigate the risk of sleep deprivation.

“One thing we learned from students is that 50 percent of respondents take naps, and a vast majority of nappers sleep in the afternoon,” said Decker. “When asked what type of support students might use for getting more routine sleep, students most commonly reported that if they would use nap zones on campus, and they would also use sleep apps.”

Decker was excited that Kirby Student Center staff were on board with the project.

“Taking all this into consideration, along with research around napping and what other campuses are doing, we decided to implement a nap zone,” Decker said.

Tatum O'Donnell's  Bedtime  Poster

Tatum O'Donnell's Bedtime Poster

Students can still use the underground for studying and regular purposes during these hours, however a quiet space will be asked to be respected according to Decker.

“I'd like to emphasize that we don't intend to restrict regular use of The Underground during nap zone times, but signs will be posted asking students to honor a quieter space,” Decker said.

SHAC students and Public Health Education & Promotions Interns, Tatum O'Donnell and Kelsey Sorenson, have created posters educating about sleep functions on iPhones that can be used to support sleep, Bedtime and Night Shift.

"Bedtime is part of the alarm app installed on the iPhone,” O’Donnell said. “It allows you to set a bedtime alarm that will alert you when you should start preparing for sleep.”

Kelsey Sorenson's  Night Shift  poster

Kelsey Sorenson's Night Shift poster

“The Night Shift is a light setting on your phone,” Sorenson said. “It gives the light a yellow hue that’s easier on the eyes before going to sleep.”

Decker is glad to have students willing to go out and help advocate new ideas and projects dealing with such an important topic.

“The amount of sleep that we get, and the quality of that sleep, have profound impacts on our well-being,” Decker said.  “UMD Health Services counselors and medical professionals are available to assist students with sleep difficulties.”



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