As the mother of an 18-month-old child and an all-around anxious person, I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep. If I’m not being kicked in the groin at 3:00 a.m. by a flailing toddler foot, I’m usually checking my email or, let’s be honest, catching up on an extremely dark Australian crime series on Amazon Prime.
When I heard about Casper’s Dreamery, a one-stop sleep shop in downtown Manhattan that’s meant to encourage customers to adopt healthier sleep habits, I wasn’t excited by the prospect of getting 45 minutes of shut-eye, so much as I took it as a personal challenge. But Casper, being a mattress company after all, takes the pursuit of sleep extremely seriously. Paying $25 gets you access to a tricked-out sleep “nook” for a power nap. The idea is for workers to use the location as a chance to rest and recharge on their lunch break. (Though considering that only about 60 percent of employees feel encouraged to take a regular lunch break, the idea that employers would look kindly on them taking an extra 45 minutes to sleep indicates that Casper has a pretty optimistic view of the American workplace.)
When I arrived at the Dreamery, I was handed a sleep mask, a pair of pajamas from Sleepy Jones, a toothbrush, and a small pouch of facial products and was directed to change. That’s when I panicked. Was there a pocket in the PJs for my phone? But I was there to sleep, so while running through the worst-case scenarios—what if someone calls? What if someone emails? What if Kanye says something bananas on Twitter?—I put my phone in one of the Dreamery’s lockers and proceeded to the nap-time area totally untethered.
A kindly attendant named Hayley (the perfect name for a sleep attendant) whispered the rules to me: no loud noises, no talking, and she would wake me up in 45 minutes. I was led to my nook, a small, futuristic edifice that looks like George Jetson designed a cabana for Wayfair. There were (very soft) pillows piled atop a (very comfy) mattress. As I burrowed under the comforter, I immediately felt a sensation that I had not experienced in well over a year: restfulness. There was no baby’s toe kicking in my back, no blue screen winking at me. I could finally close my eyes, spread my limbs, and drift into the embrace of sleep.
That didn’t end up happening. I started obsessing over a work project and what I would give my son for dinner and coordinating weekend plans until I had descended into a black hole of anxious to-dos so deep that I had Hayley end my nap ten minutes early. But in those 35 minutes, I got to chill out the best way I know how: by letting my mind race.
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