I’m a New Yorker, and I’m sleep deprived


I’m not the only one. Just look at us. In such a hurry to get from here to there. To accomplish grand things. To keep the blood coursing in the capital of the globe! Not an easy job. Who else can do this? We work hard. We play harder. We brag about how little sleep we need. You say five hours a night. I say four. Sleep is for those who can’t make it here. This is the city that never sleeps.

A nap? Please! Forget about it!


Like me, most New Yorkers sometimes secretly envy those who can effortlessly close their eyes and rest. I had friends in town recently, and my girlfriend and I took them everywhere. We wanted them to experience the best museums, best restaurants, best river tours, best skyline views. And strolling in the best park in the world, we saw a young infant in his stroller. He was taking the best nap in the middle of a glorious summer afternoon. His head was turned slightly to the side. I swear there was a little smile plastered on his face. We grunted and pushed on. We had more of the best of New York to trudge through.

None of us forgot the secret smile on that boy’s face.

They say that about 70,000 years ago, homo sapiens beat out all other proto humanoid species because they developed a new ability to think and communicate. No one knows exactly how or why, but our species learned a new type of revolutionary communication called fictive language. The ability to talk about and discuss things that don’t yet exist.

In other words, our species learned to dream while awake. No one knows how it happened, but all the experts know that this new language led to a cognitive revolution and let us imagine brave new worlds. Many animals had language, but this new mode of communication allowed us to imagine things as they might be. It could be that our ancestors, like that boy napping in the park, were just getting better sleep, had gotten better at disconnecting.

And it transformed the world as we knew it.

To sleep, perchance to dream.

Imagine a world where we all get that chance. A world where all of us can create our own little summer afternoon parks of tranquility among the hustle and bustle of the great city.

Napping is not a luxury. Sleep is a necessity. When I had a small office in Paris, I kept a portable massage table there for naps. Even a nap at the end of the workday is effective. You arrive home refreshed and ready to be with your family instead of tired and cranky. Naps can help us tap into our clearest thinking, our best memory capacity. Napping helps us to respond to life as it happens. A little sleep goes a long way toward restoring our best selves.

Those who lack sleep, eventually begin to falter in their waking lives. Those who are robbed of it, desperately yearn for it. The great poets have always known this.

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
William Shakespeare

Science is catching up to the wisdom of the Bard. According to the CDC lack of sleep has become a major public health risk leading to increased car crashes, industrial accidents, and medical and other occupational errors. That may not even be the worst of it.

Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

We know how important sleep is, and bedrooms have always been the most important rooms in the architecture of our shelters. We have also recognized the need for rest in the middle of the day or in stretches of long work. University study lounges and many offices offer lounge furniture for the weary to rest. Many societies around the world incorporate culturally mandatory siestas into the day.

I have developed a capsule called the CityNaPin for quick daytime naps. This pod-like enclosure offers privacy and enough room to sleep. Two capsules can be stacked like bunk beds in an apartment, office, library, or sleep center along a highway.

The pilot program will be in the heart of the culture of the sleepless, New York City. How do we live a fuller life without always being on the go, without always trying to break through the next wall, without bothering to reinvigorate ourselves in the most natural way? We must reach deep into our own history and imagine worlds that do not yet exist. That’s the history of human progress.

Think of it as AirB&B meets Uber meets Citi Bike.

Private hosts, libraries, businesses, or city centers set up napping capsules, register on the CityNaPin website, and set a rate. Then, people who need a nap download a cell-phone app to find the nearest host with an available nap capsule, and reserve a time for a nap with a credit card. Then, imagine as our ancestors did. Imagine what doesn’t yet exist.

Imagine a constellation.

It’s not just New Yorkers who are sleep deprived.

I am an American, and I am sleep deprived.

An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

I am a modern human, and I am sleep deprived.

Imagine a constellation where you are never far away from the restoration and benefits of a nap. Where you can quickly find the comfort of that smiling infant in the afternoon park stroll. That’s what the CityNaPin network promises.

A map from above would show a pin for each location. After a nap, you return energized and refreshed to your work, studies, driving, or experiencing the best of life. You are alert and rested. Napping makes you more awake for the rest of your life. Napping makes the good better and the better best.

CityNaPin pods are the future of napping, anywhere, any time.

Imagine such a revolution.

Karim Zouiyen