If you’re near Eastern Market this weekend and feel a strong case of grogginess, then you’re in luck. Casper, a New York-based mattress startup, is in town Friday through Sunday providing people with free naps as part of their cross-country “nap tour.” These free sessions follow their “snooze bar” pop-up shop that came to Georgetown in May.
Company co-founder and COO Neil Parikh says the tour was conceived for two reasons—to help Casper market and promote their latex memory foam mattresses outside the confines of a “stuffy mattress store” and because mid-day naps are good for the soul. “We’re a brand that’s holistically dedicated to thinking about all the ways we can help people sleep better,” Parikh says. “And napping is an important part of your life.”
Nappers get to sleep in their own “nap pods”—small bungalow-like spaces equipped with a mattress, two pillows, two lamps, and a window. Parikh says these structures were inspired by Japanese nap pods, which were designed to simulate the best napping environment possible. “Years ago, the Japanese realized that if you can create this natural environment that’s lined with wood, that you can peak inside, have music to get you to calm down, in a short amount of time you can get a pretty substantial amount of rest and recovery,” he says. “We thought, ‘If they can do that in a physical environment that’s stationary, we can figure out a way to take this on the road.’”
Attendees also have access to a light dimmer and a red phone that offers softly recited bedtime stories. There’s no limit on slumber length, but Parikh says most people stay in their pods for about five to ten minutes.
As far as who’s eligible to sleep there, Monica Brouwer, Casper’s director of experiential marketing, says everyone is welcome. Attendees get to keep their pillow cases, and sheets are replaced after each nap. Prospective sleepers can reserve a slot ahead of time online, but anyone—regardless of their interest in purchasing an $850 mattress—can wait in line and get their 10 minute rendezvous with a snooze pod. “We’re equal napertunists,” Brouwer says.
Casper’s free Nap Tour runs through September 27, from noon to 8 PM daily at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, Southeast.