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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Filed under: FAA • U.S.
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Keith

    This is not about allowing power naps! This is about the work hours! This should be illegal to allow employers that do not pay livable wages!

    April 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ant

      Wow....Classic example of transference of responsibility. Man get a better job or start your own business. You don't have to accept the wages your job offers.

      May 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bob jones

    I've worked lots of jobs, from forklift driver to nuclear containment support. None of them would let us take naps during our lunch break. Even though we aren't getting paid for that break. Usually some excuse about higher ups seeing us.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    *********yawn******* Yea troll. What ever you say. Sure.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Teri

    'At jobs involving safety employers want maximum alertness?' Really? Not in healthcare...they want a pulse & professional license. They will fire anyone on night shift should they use that 20 minute break in a 12.5 hour shift to take a nap even though there are collegues to look after the patients of the one on break. No safety issues in this field per management I surmise...

    April 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Dear Troll: What a nice way to spend your Saturday, hi-jacking names on a news blog. Did your mother drop you when you were a baby, or were you born stupid?

    April 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. iabc

    i think it is great to have nap rooms depending on the sort of work. i work night shifts in data center and my work will be only when i get phone call. I wish there is a nap room for us. i hate to sit in office with no windows,no gym and monitored continuously except in bathroom.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. popeye

    Faker blows

    April 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. greyecho

    Since back in 2004, I would allow my employees (Lion's Mark) to take power naps. It really does help.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Katie

    Sounds like a good idea to me – maybe we wouldn't have had the air traffic controller problems if there were napping facilities for them.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. concerned citizen

    why is this such a new thing. The spanish have been doing this for decades! And it works!

    April 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Martin

    This one has gone over well with Air Traffic Control too,....... why not?

    April 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rex edie

    its common sense...even machines have to be shut down once in a while for maintenance ..... a quiet noise free space for 30 minutes ....can do wonders for relief of stress.... and general well being...especially if the person knows its ok to be there....and they are not doing something for which they will be reprimanded......

    April 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. amac

    This article was enough to put me to sleep.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bedbugs of NYC

    Yes more naps!

    April 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. trollmaster

    Slugs get the proper rest and you dont need a nap! just remember the more you whine and push the limits the more the enticement to outsource your jobs

    April 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
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