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​Book pod for short nap on NTU campus

Published on: 12-Sep-2018

The rest pod in NTU has met with "positive" response. Its strict rules include no shoes, no snacking or drinking and definitely no sharing.
SEP 12, 2018, 5:00 AM SGT

Student team installs one in library, which peers can use, but strict rules on usage apply

Timothy Goh,

Given six months to create their own business venture, a team of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students taking entrepreneurship as a minor decided a nap was needed.

It turns out that besides scoring As and Bs, students really want the Zs.

Led by 24-year-old Bill Pung Tuck Weng, the intrepid team tapped $15,000 in NTU grants to secure a new rest pod, which has been sitting in the Lee Wee Nam Library since Aug 29.

He declined to say how much the pod cost.

Mr Pung told The Straits Times the response from both the school's administration and students has been "looking really positive".

The pod is usually fully booked, and he believes it has "met customer expectations".

There are strict rules though. Couples looking to get cosy may be disappointed - not more than one person is allowed inside the pod. Those caught violating this rule will be dealt with severely by the school administration.

Rest sessions are capped at 30 minutes a session, and aside from plain water, eating and drinking are strictly prohibited in the pod to ensure it remains clean.
Shoes are also not allowed in the pod, which automatically locks once its shutter is closed. Users are expected to keep their belongings with them inside the pod.

Students must book the pod in order to use it. Bookings can be made through the NTU library's facilities booking system, which is accessible on the school's Wi-Fi network.

Mr Pung, a fourth-year renaissance engineering student, said his team came up with the idea to solve a problem that many students in Singapore face: a lack of sleep.

They will monitor the response to the pod over the next one to two months, and work with the library to see if it can become a permanent fixture.

At the end of the study, the team will meet the school's administration to discuss whether more pods can be installed on campus.

While students may welcome the opportunity for rest, experts have cautioned against using sleep pods and nap rooms as a replacement for quality night-time sleep.

Professor Michael Chee, director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS Medical School, said in an earlier ST report that sleeping pods fill a need, but the underlying need to prioritise sleep in life has to be addressed.

"Naps alleviate sleep deficits, but don't replace adequate nocturnal sleep. And not everybody can nap," he said.

Mr Pung said he is hopeful that his team's initiative will evolve into a business that can put sleeping pods in schools and offices.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2018, with the headline 'Book pod for short nap on NTU campus'.

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