Tired workers cost U.S. industry billions of dollars a year.
Having your employees nap at work, as well as taking a nap at work yourself, may seem ludicrous, but it’s a good idea.
A Cornell University study found that businesses in the U.S. lose more than $150 billion a year due to lower productivity and employee fatigue. Numerous research studies have shown that taking a nap improves an individual’s reflexes, alertness, dexterity, memory, and cognitive functionality. In fact, more and more studies suggest that taking an afternoon power nap is good for your health.
Many of the brightest minds — people like Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein — were all known to take midday naps. Taking a midday nap, particularly after lunch, is nothing new. For most of human history, napping during the day was considered as necessary as sleeping at night.
In early recorded history, working at midday was socially prohibited in many cultures. For instance, the ancient Romans believed that nymphs cast evil spells of madness on those who were out at midday — this was probably because people skipping their midday nap demonstrated odd behavior later in the day. Many other cultures, including Arabic, Christian, and Jewish cultures, speak of midday spirits or demons.1
With the dawn of the internet age came a new 24/7 business cycle. As a result, days seem shorter and sleep is what we sacrifice to compensate for the lost hours.
The National Sleep Foundation’s study How Much Sleep Do Adults Need? reveals that between 1959 and 1992 the average amount of sleep reported by middle age individuals decreased from 8-9 hours per night to 7-8 hours per night.
Today, Americans sleep closer to 6 hours of sleep per night2 — this is well below the recommended 8 hours we are always hearing about.
This makes the midday nap that much more important.
How Long To Nap
Sleep studies suggest naps last no longer than 30 minutes, otherwise the individual may fall into a deeper sleep and wake up feeling dazed and even more tired.
Some people suggest drinking a cup of coffee before taking your nap in order to make sure you do not sleep for more than 30 minutes — the effects of the caffeine will kick in around the time you need to wake up. Others are against drinking coffee before taking a nap altogether. Going as far as to say that one of benefits of napping is our reduced dependence on coffee.
Napping Room At Work
Napping rooms are not necessary, but nice to have. Some companies go all out and create high tech nap rooms with nap chairs. Again, this is nice, but not necessary.
All that is really needed is a place to sleep. A couch can suffice. It all depends on how many employees and if you want to create nap shifts for when each employee would be able to take their nap.
An easy solution to facilitate the sleep needs of many individuals is to cram several bunk beds in an extra room or office .
While not commonplace in today’s “traditional” work environment, see if you can work a nap room into your office environment. Employee performance should improve and you can brag about how you’re ahead of the game at industry events.
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