More employers warm to power naps
A new survey says 6 percent of employers provide nap rooms for their workers, compared with 5 percent last year.
April 30th, 2011
03:57 PM ET

More employers warm to power naps

Yelena Shmulenson works two jobs in Manhattan, and is sleep-deprived.

She says her workload is nonstop and she can go a week working as an administrative assistant at a boutique law firm without getting up for lunch.

At night, she pursues an acting career, often getting home late.  What suffers is her sleep. So for the past two years, she pays to go to what she calls her "oasis" in the city, a spa which offers nap rooms for clients.  For $17, she can take a 20-minute power nap that keeps her going for the rest of the day.  Shmulenson says, "It really does the trick."

Her company, like a majority nationwide, frowns upon employees dozing off at work.  In fact, in many cases napping on the job is a fireable offense.  But new research from the Society of Human Resource Management shows this year more employers are slowly building nap rooms for workers to get some shut-eye during the day.

It's a relatively new concept with a 1% uptick this year, according to the group's survey, which says 6 percent of employers provide nap rooms compared to 5 percent last year.
Sleep experts say bosses are realizing the benefits of a power nap.  
"In most workplaces, especially workplaces involving safety, you want your workers to be maximally alert, and napping is actually a good strategy to maintain alertness," says Dr. Thomas Balkin of the National Sleep Foundation. "So during slow periods, scheduled naps, if you're napping in a safe place, being offline, that's the best strategy to maintain alertness," he says.
Recent news of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job has put the issue in the spotlight.  New Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation rules require controllers to have at least nine hours off between shifts to combat fatigue at work.  Transportation secretary Ray LaHood says he doesn't support the idea of nap periods for controllers while on the clock, something the National Transportation Safety Board suggested recently.
Sleep researchers suggest, "If you're really serious about giving your workers eight hours of sleep which is about ideal for an adult, then you should give them 12 hours off between shifts. That'll give them enough time to commute, eat, bathe, socialize, watch TV, read the paper, do things they want to do.  If you don't give them enough time to do those things and sleep, it's going to cut into their sleep time," Balkin says.
For Shmulenson, she says she's going to continue to invest in trying to make that time up, because she truly believes in the value of a power nap. "At the end of the year during taxes, I look at it and say to myself, I really spent money on napping, but on the other hand, it works," Shmulenson says.
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soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Bay Of Pigs Vet

    Move out of new york while you still have your health!

    April 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Exactly ... why are 100 hour work weeks even legal?? Where are the legal protections? Oh yea it is the government sitting on their hands!

      April 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      That's fine, power napping at work for a bit. I do that all the time, but now it would be structred. I guess the same company would have to pay for the linens? Thats a lot of extra $$ for what seems like an amenity. I'm in residency and there are rooms to rest, but the hospital pays the linens. Its mandatory now for every residency to have a bed for residents to rest. Let's make it a world-wide rule. People work better when rested!

      April 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Great. While Americans work longer and longer hours employers are letting them take naps there so that they can continue working very long hours at the corporations benefit while we slowly waste our lives at a low paying 60 hours a week job. Depressing.

      May 1, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • GoodAdvize

      Here's a great tip to help you reach a deep sleep, fast: listen to the sounds of nature using comfortable headphones and pay attention to every detail very, very carefully. Sounds of nature are flowing, but at the same time very random, so that you can't anticipate anything. This helps you to keep focused on the sounds, rather than wonder off with some other thoughts (conscious or unconscious), which might me preventing you from relaxing and thus falling asleep. Sites such as TranscendentalTones offer such sounds, which you can easily download to your mp3 player.

      May 1, 2011 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      Okay I have to agree with some of you. Is paying $17 for a 20 minute nap ridiculous, well yes it is! Employers should consider the opportunity for allowing employees to sleep on their required breaks, this way it would stop the confusion and employees that are working over 60+ hours a week, then those employees should be granted a extra hour on top of their original lunch or break time. This way they can function throughout the rest of their shifts. Yes I know we have people on government levels that are not paying taxes or whatever. But some of those peoples are working so that some of us in the lower class can have the opportunity to have a successful paying job and life style for the future to come. We have to get out of the mind set of blaming everything on the government! Yes I know that the entire country is ran by it, but we live in it and we as the people have so many opportunities to stop something if we really wanted to. But in the meantime I say, let it be at rest that it's okay for people to rest on the job and if the companies have someone to sit in while you take a nap then that's great, but if not then you just have to fight it out until your shift ends. I notice a reply above that the individual stated that he/she works two jobs. I take my hat off to you because I work two jobs as well to make sure that my kids have a place to rest their heads. Now you stated that work is work and not a place to rest but sooner or later it you're not getting the rest your body needs, it will then go into complete shut down! Trust me I know because I battle that in my everyday life working two jobs and being in school full time! Talking about a dedicated father who wants the best for his kids, that would be me! God bless you all and I hope success will come to each and every one of you!

      May 1, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      It's the American Way, people– you work 'til you drop.

      May 1, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • mj

      @Keith – why should it be illegal? People are free to make as much money as they want, and work for as long as they want. Employment is a voluntary contract between two people. If she wants to cut down on hours tomorrow, she has every right to. Who are the hell are you to say she shouldn't be able to work?

      May 1, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      what are you talking about? Move out of new york when you still have your health? People in New York now live longer the people in 'rural' USA.

      May 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ant

      Anything to keep the masses pacified!! "Look, I don't mind if you take a power nap. I know you work at least 50 hours a week making me more money. If you like I will also spring to buy a coffee machine so you can stay awake after your alloted nap time. I do this because I genuinely care for my employees. By the way what was that persons name that got hit by a bus yesterday? Her replacement is starting tomorrow."

      May 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lucy

    I'm down with nappy-time!

    April 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    A power nap can work wonders. Every life is a world.

    April 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mmmmm

    if i had to work, i would nap at work all day....

    April 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      >gasp!< Time has looped back and folded on

      April 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      You're anti-matter from the future!

      April 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |

    i'm asleep all the time, 'cept when i'm working on the camaro or pickin up dog poop...

    April 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bay Of Pigs Vet

    Yeah I'm out of New York, they got a "special" room for me setup at Gitmo.....

    April 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    ***********yawn********** Looks like another troll. Poor guy. Get a life dude. Pay for a date if you have to, but get a life.

    April 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    Can we imagine what might happen if that Lucifer-like person's imagination were harnessed and directed at some useful goal?

    April 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SleepyTimeNapGuy

    Maybe we could learn a thing or two from the Spanish. Daily siestas are not such a bad idea.

    April 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Granite Sentry

    How long before the Obama administration decides to require this of all employers bidding on federal contracts? Can't imagine why they haven't already formatted the executive order and got the first draft press releases done.

    April 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugo

      The Bush administration already required service evasion for all National Guard pilots, especially if their dad is a big wig in government and a war is going on...

      April 30, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Justin

    Im in the US Army and during my training as a combat medic, we had two 15 minute naps in the day. It puts you in pre REM and actually moves things from your short term memory to your long term. Amazing stuff and it works! Even the govt is doing it!

    April 30, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard in Texas

    Actually Granite Sentry President Reagan was known for taking naps.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. popeye

    Hey Cesar don't you hate trolls as bad as me ? They should make it where no one can use your screen name but you.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doug

    When I worked at Lockheed in the 1980s, it was common for plant workers to take naps at the scheduled 10 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon and at lunch. Many of the workers had a piece of foam rolled up by their tool box and would take it to their "hidey-hole", a dark flat spot where the could snooze. Sleeping any other time of the shift was one of the few immediately firable offenses for the unionized workers.

    I was a young engineer and would sometimes snooze myself at the breaks and found it refreshing when I was sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is too painful now that I am much older, so I force myself to go to bed on time and really enjoy feeling alert all day.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. popeye

    Hurry Cesar...Michael is really eyeing some guy who is younger than me (a lot younger).

    April 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
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