Nap Rooms: Essential in the Workplace?

By Chai Fook Tien

There are some days where you wish you could just close your eyes, stop working, and start dozing. As farfetched as it seems, you may actually be allowed to do this at your work place in the future. Falling asleep while you’re on the clock may sound like something that you would get fired for, but some companies have actually considered sleeping at work a positive thing.

More progressive companies have even gone out of their way to provide employees with sleeping accommodations.

Midday Napping

Our body temperature decreases at night and a hormone called melatonin is released, thereby causing us to feel sleepy. This is our body’s natural way of telling us that it is time to hit the sack. But for many people, a similar bodily situation happens in the mid-afternoon. Their bodies tell them they need sleep at some point around 3pm, but they are unable to comply due to their work. As a result, they feel tired and find their concentration levels affected.

There are research studies that reveal that a nap is a good way to combat this afternoon slump. After all, sleep is the most straightforward way to address sleepiness. A short nap of no more than 20 minutes (also known as a ‘power nap’) can benefit workers greatly. It allows us to reset our system, giving us the energy and boost we need to take on the rest of the day.

Nap Rooms

Many organisations are starting to see the benefits of power naps, citing boosted productivity as one of them. Some of them are even investing in facilities to provide employees with the means to get some shut-eye. Instead of having their employees doze off at their desks, companies like Google, Ben & Jerry’s, and Nike have implemented ‘nap rooms’ – designated places where employees are allowed to take a quick nap in the middle of the day and wake up feeling refreshed thereafter. These nap rooms are usually equipped with couches or recliner chairs, and lighting is kept dim to facilitate respite.

Some companies have even gone the extra mile by investing in sleeping pods. These futuristic-looking contraptions help maximise the napping experience by providing light shades, playing soothing sounds, or even emanating heat.

Potential Disadvantages

Nap rooms may sound like the perfect solution to combat employee fatigue, but there may be some drawbacks. The optimal duration for a power nap is 20 minutes, but some employees have been known to sleep past this duration. Although it is not unsurprising for employees to accidentally oversleep, naps that are supposed to last for about 20 minutes can end up being a full-blown sleeping session of two hours. They then wake up feeling groggy and sluggish, and end up wasting even more time trying to adjust their bodies back to their work pace. So unless you have enough self-control, taking a break in your office’s nap room can actually be detrimental.

While some companies have cited an increase in employee productivity following the provision of the freedom to nap, others have claimed otherwise. Nap rooms do indeed sound great, but they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Find other ways to combat your lethargy instead – such as by munching on a cup of fruits or turning up the volume on your punk rock playlist.

Would you use a nap room if your office had one? Would you recommend this idea to your company? Tell us in the comments below.

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