You’ve just had lunch. You’re at your desk, ready to steam engine your way through the rest of the afternoon with a lot of hard work, but before you know it that dreaded Sandman sneaks around the corner of your cubical and you’re suddenly nodding off. When you catch yourself a few moments later, you pray that your boss didn’t notice. From this point on, you begin the inevitable battle of keeping your eyes open for the rest of the day. Maybe you get a cup of coffee from the break room or pop some caffeine pills, but your progress is slow going no matter what you do.
You’re not alone. People all across America are experiencing the same thing, and because of globalization, so are many others in countries where the Western workaholic attitude is catching on. The good news is that more companies are starting to recognize the positive results of giving their employees their much needed nap time.
Believe it or not, there are Wellness Centers looking to make a buck off your mini siesta. In Manhattan, Yelo and MetroNaps are two such organizations. As featured in such articles as MSNBC and Portfolio, Yelo offers customers a nap and spa setting for $24 for 20 minutes. MetroNaps charges $14 for the same amount of time, but without the fancy treatment of a day spa.
The idea is slowly becoming a trend, despite old taboos about napping and laziness. Some centers are even offering customers portable beds that they can rent and take to work.
Many Fortune 500 companies and the like offer employees a gym, café, and childcare onsite in hopes of keeping their employees productive and interested staying on. So why not offer quiet rooms with napping chairs?
According to ABC News, NASA conducted a study that shows a 26 minute nap can boost performance by 34 percent. Tips offered in the ABC article from Dr. Sara C. Mednick, author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life,” include facts that a 20 minute nap increases alertness, while a 40 minute nap increases memory. For the lucky, a 90 minute nap increases creativity.
This news is being put to test in the dark break rooms of a few daring companies, but not everyone is buying it. Some cling to the notion that napping at work is akin to laziness and that sleeping problems should be taken care of at home.
In today’s America, who has time for a full 8 or 9 hours of sleep? Between household chores, children, continuing education, overtime, length commutes, and the millions of other things that pop up during the day to day schedule, the average person only gets about 6 hours of sleep every night – not enough to provide a full day of energy.
And, if you’re like me, there is a sleep disorder to factor into the whole equation. According to the National Institute of Health, 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleeping disorders, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems. A sleeping disorder can leave you exhausted and lacking in the creative department. It can also make you late for work, cause you to dose off at your desk, have trouble concentrating, and lead to accidents (in and out of the work place). Let’s not forget the numerous health problems associated with reduced sleep.
Studies show that a nap a day could keep the doctor away. People who take naps have a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease, according to Dimitrios Trichopoulos who was interviewed in February by the Washington Post about his research through Harvard School of Public Health.
There are also studies suggesting that a good night’s sleep keeps your skin youthful, stave off obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, strokes – the list goes on. With these possibilities in mind, why wouldn’t you want nap time at work?
The midday nap is a tradition that some countries take seriously. People in Greece, Italy, and Spain take a break during the work day, go home, have a large meal with their family, and take a nap before returning to the work place. Employers lose a lot of money with sleep deprived workers, but nap time, like a healthy meal, keeps the mind active and the body productive.
So, here’s to the latest workplace trend. Let’s hope it’s here to stay.