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. Hunter

    Has any one done research on what the health effects are of power sleeping?

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

    @Hunter...several years ago, the FAA did a study on how an afternoon nap would effect aviators. This was done at the request of NASA. The study revealed what 'siesta' takers have known for years: after you eat lunch, you get sleepy and less alert. Why? Because roughly 80% of a humans entire energy output is used for one thing, secreteing enzymes to digest food. All it takes is about a 1/2 nap to counter. Odly enough, air-traffic controllers are still not allowed to nap even though we know for a fact that their job performance would improve if they did. (shrug)

    May 1, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    Oops...it was a NASA study done for the FAA. so sue me. he he. (here troll troll troll. I have a word for you, and it's small enough for you to remember. Got yer pencil to write it down? OK! Here it is: imp. I (eye) M (emm) P (pee) IMP! Now look it up in the dictionary. See that little picture next to the definition? That's you!!!hagd

    May 1, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. our dad works two jobs

    Hi dad. It's your kids. We know that you work two jobs and go to school full time because we hardly ever see you.(we learned math and found it statistcally impossible for you to work two jobs, go to school, and sleep even for just 6 hours and still have time for us. So we have decided we don't want to be like you daddy. Thanks for all the walmart plasticrap stuff you bought us with your overtime money. One of them even squeeks when ya squeeze it!

    May 1, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Me

    Ever notice while you are at work you think "I am so tired!", but as soon as it's time to leave a sudden boost of energy comes over you and you bolt out the door and down the street as fast as you can.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. McDreamer

    A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Grumpy Old Man

    Do people even read a sentence before commenting? The story mentioned a "sleep-deprived" woman who was working two "jobs" BY CHOICE. She was working nights "pursuing an acting career." Whatever. Are we supposed to feel sorry for the poor little actress who stays up all night? If she truly has talent, then she won't need the day job much longer. Until then, do the job that you are paid to do, and stop complaining. Things are tough all over. Boo freaking hoo.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      One of my favorite movies. I liked the OUT TAKES at the end

      May 1, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. DC

    This government needs more work regulations. Sure its overtime after 40 hours. What about a maximum for the week? My company is trying to make us work more and more hours instead of hiring more people. They underpay us so much, it is cheaper to make us work more than hire more people. It is getting out of hand... They make it sound like they are doing us a favor by letting us live our entire lives in the workplace...

    May 1, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    @Rachel...America wasn't always ruled by corporate fascists who enjoy overworking their people. "If you love what America has become, you never really knew her"–Philip [circa 1998]

    May 1, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Suzanne

    When i was pregnant and in my last trimester, I took naps over my lunch – quick 20 minute ones in an unused room at work. There was no way I was going to make it through the afternoon without one – by 2pm I would feel my eyes closing involuntarily. The nap let me continue on with my day productively. I think having nap rooms for employees is a great idea!

    May 1, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    Naps? I would like breaks, lunches, and weekends first...

    May 1, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. NappyTime

    What...what's going on???? I just woke up...back to work now :p

    May 1, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sleepy

    It's hard to read this with eye boogers in my eyes...'yawn'

    May 1, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. FYI

    Just so we are clear America...the boss has spoken! They stated "You can take a vacation/personal day any time you want and sleep all day!" 🙂

    May 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SpaceJockey

    i hardly think "pursuing and acting career" qualifies as a second job, but im sure if you asked her she is "working on her craft" right? i have a second job too, im a part time astronaut...

    May 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
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