Nearly every time I’ve ever slept in my 22 years on this Earth, it has not been in a law school library. Enter: an email from the BC Law Library staff titled “The Sleep Pods have arrived!”
There are now sleep pods installed on the third floor of the library, a response to requests for a place to nap or zone out in order to refresh from our standard day-to-day cycle of reading cases, going to class, studying, outlining, and grubbing for the next opportunity to get free food.
We stay busy here at BC, and sure, sometimes we treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. But then, sleeping doesn’t earn you any Lexis Points.
According to Sleep Review Magazine, sleep pods have been proliferating through the business world. Awareness of the importance of sleep is steadily rising. But, in spite of that, people are getting less and less sleep.
Being tired is in fashion. Sure, taking naps may “boost alertness and productivity,” but sleep is for the weak and that memo isn’t going to write itself. So, grab that $5 Starbucks gift card you won for getting a question unforgivingly wrong in a Westlaw research seminar, head to the café, buy your 4th coffee for the day, and get back to work.
To make matters worse, a 2011 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who use technology like cell phones and computers before bed don’t sleep as well, and feel sleepier than those who don’t. That’s a pretty bleak prospect for me, considering that the relationship I have with my laptop is approaching biological symbiosis. The line between where I end and my MacBook begins gets blurrier every passing day.
You mix together the debilitating effect of modern technology, the demands of the law school workload, a collectively cavalier attitude about getting enough sleep at the societal level, and you’ve got yourself a nice little cocktail of exhaustion. So, if you aren’t getting enough sleep at home, why not just sleep in the law school?
Personally, my first reaction to hearing about the new sleep pods was “hmm… those are weird.” They seemed like something a Silicon-valley tech startup would put in an office alongside a ball pit and beer on tap. That being said, I’m pretty weird too. So, for the purposes of writing this blog, I decided to give them a try. I was expecting my feet to hang off the edge – and we all remember from childhood that if your feet hang off the edge while you sleep, that means the monsters can get you. So my experience going into the pods was one of abject terror. But, my feet actually didn’t hang off the edge. These pods are built for people my size, which is nice but also defied my expectation that my feet would hang off the edge and thus made me feel less tall than usual. Naturally, like any tall man, my entire measure of self-worth is founded on my height. So, possible existence of monsters-under-the-bed aside, the pods get a big thumbs down from me and my fragile ego.
Figuring that at least some of my peers must be made of sterner stuff than I am, I sought out the thoughts other students have about the new sleep pods.
Some people have used the pods and really like them. It’s easy to see why: they serve their purpose. People are using them to nap and break up the otherwise harsh hours upon hours spent grinding it out in the library. It helps people get through their workload without falling asleep at their desks using their textbooks as pillows.
Also, you can’t deny that they look pretty cool. They’re like something out of a space ship. It’s like being a kid with a racecar bed, but for adults.
Other people like the pods in theory, but not in practice. They recognize the public health concern of under-sleeping, and consider any attempted solution to be admirable. But admiration isn’t quite enough to get people to take a nap in a spot where someone else also just took a nap, even if you can wipe it down first. Others are put off by the notion of napping out in the open of the library where other students can see you. Fair enough.
To each their own. With the sleep pods, as with all things at BC Law, we are running our own races. Some of us aren’t inclined to use them, but we’re glad the sleep pods are there for the students who are so inclined. They are a fine addition to the library, and a reflection of BC’s consciousness of student health. Getting enough sleep is important. Enormously so. But so is the work we do here, and the reality is that sometimes submitting to exhaustion is the compromise we make. When that happens, I’m glad to know the school and the library staff is keeping our best interests in mind.