Recently there has been renewed interest and research on the idea that people are more productive after a short “power nap” at work, usually 20 minutes in length; enough to get you through the afternoon, but not enough to cause excess drowsiness. With adults getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep at night, just about anyone out there could benefit from a short slumber during the day.
While many worry that getting caught napping on the job could get them fired for being unproductive or lazy, some companies are embracing the idea of napping. Annually, employee exhaustion causes $100 billion in lost productivity, health expenses and employee absences. Research has found that as few as 10 minutes spent napping can have positive benefits, and a 20 minute nap produced improvements in memory function, learning, and performance. These improvements were seen 35 minutes after waking, and lasted up to 125 minutes.
In order to encourage this restfulness, companies have begun creating “Nap Rooms”. Furniture companies have even begun cashing in on the nap trend by creating high tech sleep pods to encapsulate the napper. These pods can include sound systems, LED mood lighting, sunshades, and even doors. The price tag on these lavish chair beds can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to catch a few mid-day Zz’s, but you don’t want to end up like George Costanza, who on one episode of “Seinfeld“ had a bed built for himself beneath his desk. Luckily there are affordable nap options. Coalesse offers Hosu, a low lounge chair that converts to chaise and back with the flip of a cushion. It offers storage pockets for all the devices and cords you might want to enable you to relax. Coming in early 2014, Coalesse will release Massaud, pictured below, a work-lounge product ideal for squeezing in a snooze between stretches of work. For the younger generation, Thonet offers a collection of floor pillows called Chill.
But before you settle down for your work nap, consider some possible side effects of snoozing on the job. Studies showed that naps lasting longer than 30 minutes actually were a detriment to performance, while naps by those who were truly sleep deprived caused the individual to go into “sleep inertia”, characterized by impaired alertness. Some workers who nap in the office feel an obligation to stay at work later into the evening, which counteracts some of the benefits of napping and pulls them away from their family life. Lastly, some companies located in Dubai have lengthened their office hours to incorporate a naptime, again, pulling workers away from home life.
Napping at work can certainly have positive outcomes. Before you set your daily naptime though, be sure that the activity is approved by your superiors; you wouldn’t want to get stuck hiding out under your desk like George. And it wouldn’t hurt to have the right furniture to help you get the most benefit from your slumber.