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02/22/2013 11:58 am ET

Harvard Nap Room Under Consideration After Student's Petition Finds Support

The Harvard administration is considering creating a nap room on campus after sophomore Yuqi Hou started a petition that received 191 yes votes, The Boston Globe reports. It's one of three petitions that gained formal consideration last month by Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds.

Hou found in an online survey, which 432 undergraduates responded to, that just 21 percent of Harvard undergrads felt like they got enough sleep, and that nearly 60 percent were in favor of establishing a nap room, The Harvard Crimson reports.

"Most students operate daily on a sleep deficit, to the detriment of their health and productivity," Hou, 19, told The Globe. "For those getting insufficient sleep at night, naps can provide alertness and help students take a break from their hectic schedules."

Harvard's own research shows the benefits of power naps. Robert Stickgold, associate professor of psychiatry, said in the Harvard Health Letter that napping can improve people's problem-solving skills. A November 2009 issue of the Harvard Health Letter recommended 20- to 30-minute naps and endorsed the idea of having an ideal spot to rest: "You don't want to waste a lot of time getting to sleep. Reducing light and noise helps most people nod off faster. Cool temperatures are helpful, too."

The University of Colorado-Boulder started its own nap center in 2009 called "Siesta," the Daily Camera reported.

Some students say they notice that libraries are doubling as mega nap rooms.

"I see, every so often, people fall asleep in the library, and it's sort of inconvenient," Harvard senior Sam Singer told NBC Boston affiliate WHDH on Thursday. "And if you live far away from the yard you live far away from places where your classes might be to go back in the middle of the day. I know people often talk about taking a nap."

The University of Texas and the University of California-Davis both created their own nap maps to plot the best spots to snooze on campus. Hou told the Globe she plans to create her own nap map until a siesta center is set up on campus.

We can't say we disagree with Hou's idea. We have nap rooms here at The Huffington Post, and they're often overbooked.

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