GUEST BLOG: THE SLEEP HELP INSTITUTE ON OFFICE NAP PODS
After many years of treating “sleeping on the job” as a taboo and fire-worthy offense, the stigma against workplace naps seems to be lifting. That might be due to the realization that working adults just aren’t sleeping as much as they should — and that their productivity suffers as a result.
The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep. However, the recommended minimum for adults is seven hours of rest each night, with eight hours toted as ideal. Despite what experts suggest, a good night’s sleep is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity.
Rather than unwisely running on fumes, here are three compelling reasons for adding a napping space to the office.
Increase Both Creativity and Productivity
Struggling to get things done later in the workday? At least one study suggests that a midday nap can improve learning, memory, and creative thinking. A Harvard sleep researcher named Robert Stickgold has said that napping allows people to be more effective at problem-solving.
Just six to seven minutes of sleep was shown to improve how well a subject retained information. If there is a lot to do and ideas aren’t flowing, a quick power nap could not only refuel someone physically, but also give them the mental capacity for creativity and completing tasks.
Improvement of Overall Health
Researchers found that for sleepy test subjects, a power nap was more effective at combating afternoon sleepiness than a cup of coffee. That’s because, while the effects of caffeine eventually wear off, a nap can trigger healing at the cellular level. A good night’s sleep is crucial for allowing the mind and body to heal. By having a section of the office dedicated to napping, it provides an opportunity to counteract the adverse effects of a lack of sleep.
More Time in the Office than at Home
For those who spend the majority of their day working rather than at home, it might make sense to figure out the best mattress or sleep pod to install in the office. In situations like this, it might be a matter of practicality. Particularly for those who, by the time they leave work, find there’s a remarkably short window of time before they need to return. Although this isn’t a recommended long-term solution, having a place to take a nap in anticipation of a reduced night’s sleep could prove beneficial. It would, at the very least, be a more useful alternative to trying to power through the day on very little sleep.
Though the idea of a napping space at the office might seem unique for now, as opinions change, it might one day become the norm. Nap pods are becoming increasingly popular, and many companies, including Facebook, Google, Ben & Jerry’s, and even coworking spaces have dedicated sleeping nap spaces.
Employee wellness is extremely important. The benefits of wellness in employees include increased productivity and morale. These benefits are exponentially increased when the company uses an employee wellness company, according to The Harvard Business Review.
Sleep and wellness are inextricably linked. Poor sleep and irregular sleeping patterns are associated with health problems, weight gain, drowsy driving, reduced productivity, wellness and performance, and even drug use. With changing work schedules and working fatigue on the rise, an office which allows employees to sleep may see an increase in productivity and creativity among their workforce.
A space to recharge with a quick nap is a small price to pay for being able to get more done. It’s possible that as this realization spreads, mid-day naps are no longer taboo, but instead, a regular part of the workday. Should that become the case, a napping space might one day not just be a suggestion, but a necessity.