Remember when you were in kindergarten? You'd run around outside in the sun during recess. You'd come back inside and sip your juice as you snuggled up on the floor with your blankie for a quick snooze. Within seconds, you were fast asleep, and, 30 minutes later, you'd hop up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to belt through your ABCs with pride. As you got older, napping became a novelty, not a necessity. But, if given the chance to nap during work today, would you take it? What would happen if you stepped away from your desk or your counter or wherever for half an hour?
Curious to find out, I decided to set up a nap pad at the BuzzFeed HQ. I wanted to nap on something so ridiculously comfortable I'd wake up feeling like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon of comfort. I presented the idea to Casper and they were eager to help outfit our nap pad, and Affirm (which was easier to use than a credit card, tbh) made buying it a breeze. Within the hour, we had an entire mattress, pillows, sheets, and a duvet cover en route to the office.
The mattress was set up and dreamier than I imagined. Now it was time to find some bodies for the bed. I decided to recruit 10 people that could fall into one of three teams: the nap lovers, nap neutrals, and nap haters.
Our team of notorious nap lovers consisted of Jana, Casey, Rachel, and Emily. Team nap lovers are a charmed breed. They can fall asleep on command and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to rock. I could be playing "Circle of Life" on full blast, and they still wouldn't wake. Wizards.
Our merry band of neutrals consisted of Chris, Mandy, and Jasmin. When asked how team neutrals felt about napping, their attitudes could best be summed up as: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. They don't love naps, but they don't dislike naps. Sometimes they'll wake up feeling refreshed; sometimes they'll wake up feeling like the living dead.
Our groggy group of nap haters consisted of Tara, Kyle, and Clark (myself). We are an unfortunate lot. Nap haters like myself don't dislike napping; it just doesn't work for us. Either we can't fall asleep, or we wake up feeling like someone open-hand slapped us and ran away.
"Focusing and following through on taking a break as opposed to always wishing I had one makes a big difference."
—Casey, nap lover
Our team of nap lovers were feeling stressed and eager to rest their head on some fluffy pillows. "I was definitely feeling a little frazzled," said nap lover Emily. "Even though it was hard to pull away from the squishy pillows and comfy sheets, my mind was clear and focused after taking that time to rest." Fellow nap lovers Casey, Jana, and Rachel were in the same boat. Jana boasted about how she could nap literally anywhere, but on Friday she was hyped from her workload and for the weekend and was worried she wouldn't fall asleep. Oh, was she wrong! "I lay down, thought about a few things I should do after my nap, and then I was out. I napped for a full half hour," she said. Rachel was having a headache so she the time to chill on a cozy cotton ball was much needed. Casey had a ton of deadlines but made it a point to take her naps. "Focusing and following through on taking a break as opposed to always wishing I had one makes a big difference," Casey said. "Surprise!"
The team of nap lovers' experiences could be summed up like this: Jana felt 😍♥♥😍, Rachel felt 🙌, Casey felt 💆✌, and Emily felt ☺️☺️.
"After I fully woke up and became fully aware, I felt less stressed and not as mentally strained as I typically would."
—Chris, nap neutral
Our nap neutralists were equally stressed but had more apprehension towards napping during work. For Mandy, she either can't nap at all or is out for hours, not ideal for work. She didn't think she'd be able to fall asleep, and at first her mind was racing, but she calmed herself and was able to clock some solid ZZZs. "Knowing the nap room was there was really reassuring. Maternal in a way?" she recalled. "I felt like a pure little baby in my nap time." Chris had an array of meetings and deadlines, so his cortisol levels were at an all time high. Though not much of a napper, he found it an incredible respite. "After I fully woke up and became fully aware, I felt less stressed and not as mentally strained as I typically would," he said. Jasmin, our other nap neutralist, has a love-hate relationship with napping, she loves the idea of it but can never actually settle down for a true nap. Despite her sentiments, the nap room worked! "It was a relaxing and rejuvenating experience," Jasmin said. "Due to the comfort of the bed and pillows, I astonishingly was actually able to nod off for a few minutes!!"
The team of nap neutrals' experiences could be summed up like this: Chris felt 😇 , Mandy felt 👸🏻, and Jasmin felt 🙈.
"I def walked away from unopened emails and chats and texts, so you could say I was bit anxious."
—Tara, Nap Hater
Our tap of nap haters were the most reluctant of the three. For me, the few times I've successfully napped, I woke up feeling delirious, red-eyed, and wonky. I blocked out time in my calendar to nap, which was crucial, otherwise I would have skipped to finish the mountain of work I had. Monday to Thursday, I wasn't able to fall asleep, but the time away from screens and into fluffy dreams was a great recharge. However, on Friday some miracle from St. Cloud blessed me: I napped for like five whole minutes! Kyle had been moving that week, so the nap room was a much welcomed refuge. "Even though I didn't fall asleep, it was a nice change of pace and a great way to reset," Kyle said. Following suit, Tara is not a fan of naps — she wakes up feeling groggy and nauseous (same), so she was nervous about the prospect of napping at work. Like the rest of us she had a ton on her plate. "I def walked away from unopened emails and chats and texts, so you could say I was bit anxious." she said. But, in a shocking turn of events, she had a revelation, she was a converted nap lover! "I honestly feel like my views on napping have COMPLETELY flipped in just five short days. I'm actually shocked," she gleefully reported. "It always feels kind of invigorating to just drop everything and walk into that room. Nothing is THAT urgent that it can't wait 30 minutes."
Finally, our team of nap haters had a mixed response: Tara felt 😇💯 , Kyle felt ✨✨, and I felt 😑.
For each person, time in the nap room had its own restoratives qualities, giving everyone a sense of calm and clarity as they exited the nap castle. Everyone loved the super-comfy mattress, cozy sheets, and fluffy pillows from Casper and wanted it to stay forever, so I guess every team won! I think nap lover Jana summed it up best: "Naps 4ever, comfy beds 4ever."
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Photographs by Sarah Stone © BuzzFeed 2016. Selfies courtesy of happy nappers. Header design by Kirby Darland © BuzzFeed 2016.