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. Cesar

    MLZ: Mental worries add to one's feeling of exhaustion. You must be feeling very exhausted, since you worry so much about your low sperm count, punk.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    @LF: Tough schedule you have. I must conclude from your post that your bedroom is used for sleep. So sorry that you and hubby have a poor s*x life. Hang in there.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    @Sam: You may care about the micro hot dog you have, but no one else does, you filthy punk.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    @Shag: See a specialist about your low sperm count. You have a problem, son.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. wow

    I eat for 15 minutes then nap for 45 love it

    May 1, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. wow

    and cesar i have no sperm count

    May 1, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. D

    When i own my own business, I will pay employees not by the hour but by project (like a contractor). I would NEVER pay someone to do what they should be doing on personal time.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. nap

    I let my emplyees take a 20 min nap each on the office couch if they want to. we time it. 20 min later and their productivity increases 10fold and they can stay later. coffee doesn't work as well.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sunshine Girl *

    @Lucy..Before you judge me so harshly there might be a few things you ought to know. I have 7 children so dont tell me I know nothing about the working life to keep a roof over my head. I said Ive never had a job(s) that allowed sleeping. I know what my priorities are. Yes Ive been tired, dead tired at work more times than I can count. But I know I have to go to work and work around things. You are the one who probably has no idea. Make enough to feed 7 kids then come talk to me. W/out govt help. Thank you.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      That is my favorite number , dont have anymore and you will be perfect to me, He He. Nice to see you still around and good luck with all those angels.

      May 1, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
    • NoodleHat

      If anything I'd criticize you for the 7 kids. Knock that crap off. The population of the world is high enough as is. Tie it off after 2. 3 at the absolute max and that's questionable.

      May 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rochelle

    40 years ago I worked for a company that had a nap room. When it was in use we were allowed to go into any unoccupied office space and nap on the floor.. It turned out to be great for my job to take half my lunch break...or all...and nap. It was so nice to be in a totally quiet and and dark space!!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jason

    I see this as an issue not of a legal one but a cultural one. Some people are against it cuz they are hard headed, some people are bitter cuz they pulled the shortest straw in their working lives, or some people put shallow astetics over well-being (IE: don't nap at work on your breaks cuz it makes us look bad). Regardless, it works wonders and I myself have slept in my care during lunch breaks. Be back on time and there is no cause for complaints.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sher

    Sure, let's all take a nap at work.....jeeeze. How ridiculous we have become. The teachers have spent so many years pushing the liberal agenda, that the kids actually will start to believe it's their RIGHT to have a NAP and they will protest in the streets. How would you like your ICU nurse to be off sleeping while your IV needs to be changed??? Nurses barely get a meal during their 12-16 hour shifts. I WORKED 2 jobs most of my life, I would have never considered trying to sleep while at work. That's because it's WORK. It's bad enough that more people are on government checks than are paying taxes-how is this country supposed to survive?

    May 1, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • NoodleHat

      By getting rid of halfwits like you that think the problem stems from the "liberal agenda" you think teachers have.

      May 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Oh Jenny.

    May 1, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Paul

    I would rather have a nurse, dr, cop, or employee of any kind alert and rested than to have one making mistakes because of being exhausted. Pull one person arm out of a machine in the middle of the night while they are working swing shifts and see if your opinion doesnt change. Oh make that person your friend and tell his family that he lost his arm because he could not think straight. Happened. Cause of accident mental fatique

    May 1, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe Makeup

    $17 for a nap of any kind is rediculous, and even moreso when it's for only 20 minutes. In order for a power nap to be truly effective, it needs to be at least 45 minutes. An hour is usually the ideal standard. This gives the napper time to decompress, fall asleep and then stay asleep for a good half hour, at least. 20 can take a person up to 10 minutes just to fall asleep, maybe longer. Who wants to travel to some spa, pay a criminally overpriced fee and then nap for less time than it took to get to the place to begin with? Find a broom closet or a storage room or your cart and sleep for free. You'll get used to it quick, if you're tired enough.

    May 1, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
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