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. Worldwide Bedbugs

    Yes more slugs,more lazy new yorkers,more unchanged beds,more dirty taxis,we heart new york.

    April 30, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael Jackson

    Mama say mama say ma ma mu sah.. Chavoo! Hee hee!... Ow! *punches groin* Blanket!... Cesar... Come be my blanket for my power nap?.. We can play Peter Pan and "sword fight" 😉

    April 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michael

    I can't believe the FAA is against nap time.

    April 30, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sunshine Girl *

    Sounds like another way to be lazy on the job. Ive never had a job where this was even considered. If you go home after work and do what your suppossed to do then there wont be a problem. Grown adults know they have to work. Go to bed on time. Get your priorities right and you wont have to sleep at work. This is the grown up world. Not nappy noodle time in Kindergarden class.

    April 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adol

      Sunshine Girl,

      It is apparent that you have never had a job the required you to work such long hours that by the time you got home it was nearly bed time.

      Hopefully you will always have gravy jobs that have work hours that end way before bedtime but there are many that do not have that luxury.

      May 1, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Ant

      Grown adults have another option. They can choose to open their own business and build it to the point that they can leave their job.

      May 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lucy

    Zzzzzzzzz....wha...? What? Oh, yeah the planes, boss. The planes.

    April 30, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lucy

    Sunshine...apparently you've never had a job that had a 8-hour (oops...9-hour) turn around before you had to be back on shift. Apparently, you've never had to hold 2-3 jobs to support your family, with MAYBE a little sleep thrown in between for kicks and giggles...obligations that made you forgo sleep in order to keep a roof over you head, and food for your kids. In other words, apparently, you've likely never held a job AT ALL, or have never moved out of your parent's house. Please get some real-life experience before you call yourself an "adult".

    April 30, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pseudobliss

    I work in a very large ICU at a very large hospital. The day nurses around this country can get an uninterrupted lunch break (30 mins even though we work 12-16 hours a day) is the day I kill over. I could not imagine having a M-F job that offers a nap. Wait! What am I saying!? I couldn't imagine a job that allows a nurse time to run to the bathroom!

    April 30, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny

      I am sick of people like you who COMPLAIN about your job. You chose to be a nurse honey. While I, along with others, appreciate everything nurses, doctors, etc do, but one shouldn't complain about the hours they work if they are the ones who chose the career. Nurses work regular 9-5ers too in doctors office so you do have the choice to switch gears in your career.

      May 1, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • BB

      @Jenny,

      Well then, I hope a nurse at the end of a break-less 15 hour shift is responsible for your health the next time you visit the ICU.

      May 2, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. gwats

    I'm a bus driver. I work a split shift, and get a quick meal and a nap on my split. I'm alert, and much calmer driving my afternoon work now. I love it!!

    April 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    I see nothing wrong with a power nap at work, as long as it is not on company time. If I am getting a hour for lunch that is unpaid, if I go into the employee lunch/break room and take a nap, as long as I am not exceeding my hour, it's perfectly acceptable. Many of our employees who have had health issues, (ie: a heart attack) need this to work the rest of the day. Admittedly, this is not the norm with most employers, and being caught napping on the clock would be a very different scenario. But allowing the employees to nap at work on their own dime is something my employers allow, because it makes for a better work production by the employee. I wish other employers could see this!

    May 1, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Allen

    Am I the only one who's jaw dropped at the person who says they pay 17 dollars a day for a 20 minute nap? Forget that, I'd rather be tired.

    For what it's worth, I regularly take naps in my car on my lunch break. No one cares.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • sam

      i care. 🙂

      May 1, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shag

    Ridiculous. This country has become so soft it's sickening. If you're just so (sniff-sniff) tired (boo-hoo) that you can't stay awake through your 8, 10, or even 12 hour shift, then maybe your employer should find someone who can. And people wonder why the rest of the developed world has surpassed us in almost every measurable criteria.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • thierryjtaule

      you asssshole, people are overworked and sleep deprived. maybe you need a nap. cranky pants

      May 1, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. LF

    Excellent idea. My husband works swing shift where he is expected to switch from mornings to evenings within a few days of each other (what I think should be illegal as there is no way it is healthy!) and when there is downtime, the best thing for those guys is to kick back for 10 minutes.

    As for me, I worked 12-hour days due to a long commute to the city. The time on that commuter train, both morning and evening, always refreshed me for a 10 minute snooze. Considering my day started at 5am and ended when I got home close to 7pm, expected to help make dinner, pay bills, oh, how I looked forward to that rest for my brain and body!

    May 1, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Hector

    what happens when you get a wet dream during a power nap LMFAO!

    May 1, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    @Hector: In your case you don't have to worry about any wet dreams. You have a very low sperm count; so relax, punk.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. MLZ

    As mentioned earlier, it's particularly important for those with medical issues to be allowed to rest–on their lunch hour, for example. Those who are healthy and/or young simply don't understand just how exhaustion takes its toll that much more on you when you don't have a body that's up for a full day's work and the stress that comes along with it.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
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