Build Your Own Sleeping Pod

A sleeping pod with pillow and curved entrance

A sleeping pod is a small, enclosed compartment where a person can sleep, work on their computer, listen to music, watch videos, or generally relax. Rest keeps the brain functioning at maximum levels, so sleeping pods offer a boost to productivity and focus. Many mainstream companies have nap rooms fitted with sleeping pods so employees can take a break and a short nap while at work. In some countries sleeping pods have become a minimalist alternative to staying in hotels.

In a home setting, sleeping pods can help maximize the use of space, and might encourage better napping or sleeping habits. For those living single, they might offer value as a miniature bedroom in a small apartment. In a crowded or noisy household, they might serve as a place to escape for some quick private shuteye. Whatever vision you might have for your pod, here are the basics of setting one up for yourself.

Step 1 - Decide What Kind of Sleeping Pod to Build

The items you'll need will depend on your taste in design. In essence, you're constructing a simple box to lie down in. Accordingly, it should be a little longer than your body (or longer than the body of a tall person, if you're constructing it for guest use) and probably no wider than a twin mattress (though the size is entirely up to you). The only elements you definitely need to think about are your walls, ceiling, and bed. Shelving, windows, and any other features are optional.

If you don't have a specific size in mind, aim for an eight foot compartment that stands four and a half to five feet high, with a width between three and four feet, depending on your preferred mattress.

A small bed in a sleeping nook

Step 2 - Check the Codes

Before you choose a location, draw up plans, and begin to build, check with your local municipality about any building codes for sleeping units. In some cities, it is illegal to build a pod inside a residence, due to fire safety codes.

Ask first so you don't run into complications, or danger, down the line. You may need to provide your intended dimensions to the city or county inspector to get an approval.

If you have home or renter's insurance, you might want to check with your provider about whether building a pod would violate any part of your policy.

Step 3 - Pick a Place

Once you feel confident about the legality and insurability of your sleeping nook, choose where you'd like to put it based on how large you've decided to go. Maybe it's against a wall in your studio apartment. Maybe it's tucked away in a part of the house your kids don't play in. Maybe it's an outdoor spot where you could watch the stars through a clear roof!

Step 4 - Draw your Plans

Lay out the size of the box, along with the locations of any entrances and windows, and ventilation elements such as fans. Decide whether the door should be a traditional hinged opening or a sliding panel you can lock from the inside.

Your pod can rest directly on the floor, or on a platform with legs or shelving underneath. Consider the exterior of the pod, too. Small compartments for display purposes or a bench-like seat along the length make nice additional touches, especially if it's taking up residence in a central area of your home.

The interior might be blank and basic, or it might have shelving, storage, and a work area or a place to sit your computer. Include any plans for lighting and electrical outlets in this stage.

a small sleeping space

Step 5 - Choose Materials

Bead board, plywood, paneling, and drywall might be in the mix here, along with any fixtures such as handles to open doors, windows, or compartments. You can focus on simple economy or choose whatever materials you find soothing. Transparent elements might help keep you calm if small spaces tend to make you uncomfortable. Consider paint or patterns to liven up the design, either inside or out.

Put some thought into what kind of mattress, pillows, and sheets you want to use. Inflatable mattresses are a reasonably cheap option, especially if you don't plan to use the pod too often.

Step 6 - Build Your Bed Box

Nail or screw your simple box compartment together. If you've decided to build outside, or on a porch, consider adding some protective sealant like caulk to protect the interior from the elements.

Step 7 - Connect Electricity

Run any wiring necessary for lighting and fans. If temperature is an issue, you may want to install a small window a/c or heating unit.

Step 8 - Move In

When the pod is complete, move in your bedding and you’re ready for a quick nap or a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping Pod FAQ

What materials are used for sleeping pods?

Basically, all you need to make a sleep pod is a supportive foundation and something soft to sleep on. DIY sleep pods are commonly made with affordable materials like MDF and other types of wood, along with foam cushioning that is easy to find and comfortable to sleep on.

Is it safe to sleep in a pod?

Though pods look squishy and comfortable, it is not safe for babies and young children to sleep in them. Sleep pods are a suffocation hazard because they don't give the baby enough support.

Adults, however, and older children can use sleep pods to feel comfortable and cuddled.

Does hug sleep pod really work?

Many people rave about the benefits of a sleep pod and how much more their sleep has improved. However, not everyone's experience is the same and not everyone will enjoy a sleep pod situation.

What age is a sleep pod for?

Though many different people have weighed in with opinions on how young is too young for children to sleep in a pod, it is best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and your own best judgment. If you are unsure, ask a doctor or a childcare expert about the specific type of sleep pod you're considering.

How do you make a sleeping pod?

Making a sleep pod is some time-intensive, but it is possible. You will need plans and you will need to make sure you have the space needed for the plan you have in mind.

Then, you'll need to build the frame to support the mattress, which is another essential element for the design.