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Employers Warming Up To Power Naps While On The Clock
by Chris Malone,posted Mar 1 2013 5:19AM
I can remember as a child how I despised nap time. I would whine and throw a fit when the kindergarten nap mats were pull out to the floor and the blinds were closed.
As I am older, I reminisce about a simpler time of life and what a fool I was in fighting the nap. There are many afternoons when a quick siesta would do a world of good. Now there is more science, research and employers who agree napping on the clock increases productivity. According to reports of a Harvard Medical School research project, people who completed a task and then slept on it were likely to complete the task more quickly when asked to try again.
Since Americans are logging longer hours at work than ever before, companies are becoming more lenient, even encouraging workers toward at-work napping. According to an employee benefits survey of 600 American companies conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 6% of workplaces had nap rooms in 2011, a slight increase from 5% the previous year. Even more suggestive, a 2011 poll of 1,508 adults by the National Sleep Foundation found that 34% of respondents say their employers allow them to nap at work, and 16% said their employers also have designated napping areas.
Most of these employer-sponsored nap programs are in the tech field, where worldwide customer demands mean long and odd hours. But if productivity is improved, why shouldn't the practice be expanded to more companies in more sectors?
"Over the last few years, there's been a lot of focus on exercise and nutrition, but adequate sleep is arguably the most important element of productivity," says Christopher Lindholst, co-founder of MetroNaps, which markets a napping chair called the EnergyPod to such companies as Google, Procter & Gamble, and Cisco Systems. The EnergyPod, which looks like Pacman with a really long tongue, boasts ergonomic support and a built-in music system with a headphone jack to eliminate background noise. "The EnergyPod is designed to provide some privacy, but it's typically installed in a common area so you create an environment of awareness and acceptance," says Lindholst. MetroNaps rents its EnergyPod for $795 per month.
So let's say your boss is on board for an afternoon nap at the office, what do you do next? How can you stop your mind from keeping you up? Use these tips from Mother Earth Network on how to power nap:
1. Early afternoon is the recommended time for a power nap.
Napping too late in the day can interfere with night time sleeping, which serves to defeat the purpose of giving your body what it needs to function optimally.
2. Keep it brief.
Napping beyond 40 minutes can result in a prolonged groggy feeling and undermine the reviving effects a 20-30 minute nap provides. See what works for you. For some people, anything beyond 10 minutes leaves them in too much of a haze.
3. A quiet setting with low light is optimum for a solid nap.
Although some businesses have EnergyPods, cocoon-like chairs with headphone jacks, where employees can crash and get revived mid-workday, most do not. However finding a space and a way to decompress for a few is a worthwhile endeavor. An unused office (or your own). Perhaps you will be the one to get a quiet/meditation-type space created in your office.
4. As counterintuitive as this may seem, having a cup of coffee just prior to napping can help bolster alertness.
It takes about 20 minutes for the caffeine effect to kick in, so it shouldn’t interfere with your sleep.
So here's to sleeping (only briefly) on the job! Have a great rest of the day and a wonderful weekend!