The Price Of Sleep: 70 Cents A Minute

I know it makes commercial sense, but it’s still galling to realise that in our fast urban world, we are getting used to paying for everything. First it was bottled water, then bottled air, now it’s sleep.

New York’s MetroNaps is getting quite a bit of coverage of late — in Wired, the NYT, the New York Sun – as a company that offers pods for taking midday naps in. Wired quotes company founder Arshad Chowdhury as saying his research indicated “people would pay to take a nap, but they only wanted to go about six minutes out of their way to get one”. So far they have one in the Empire State Building and Vancouver Airport, but should we expect MetroNaps on as many corners as Starbucks? At $14 for a 20 minute nap that’s as expensive a hobby as coffee.

Now, I’m a huge fan of naps, and offering folk a place to lie down is not particularly new — good airports have totally quiet environments where you can lay back without looking like a refugee. But is it just me, or is there something pretty sad going on when we sneak a few blocks to grab a doze away from our desk? I can understand why someone in town for the day might want to put their feet up, but are our places of work so bad that we can’t provide this kind of facility to our workers there? Or, for that matter, why can’t cafes provide a place to snooze (what happens if you try that in Starbucks?)?

If napping is such a good idea let’s make it part of the furniture, not turn it into a business. I was going to ask MetroNap more about this, but it seems their site is down right now. Taking a nap, as it were.