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. popeye

    I want to take a power nap with Macauley Culkin so I can be just like my Idol, Michael Jackson...The King of pedophilia.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jimmy

    If someone needs it and they're salary or off-the-clock, I see no problem with it as long as their work gets done. A buddy of mine used to have a cot in his office. He slept for 50 minutes of his 60 minute lunch. It made his teeth yellow. So there's that.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    @Suzanne: You were pregnant? I doubt it. Not even Ben would do a bow wow like you. Hahahah

    May 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James

    Power naps work - but only if you actually nod off, even for only a few seconds. You can't just lie there with eyes closed, you have to truly fall asleep. It reboots the brain somehow, infuses a nice dose of alertness. Employers are idiots for thinking 15 minutes of "non-productive" time eats into their profits; in truth, the alertness boost makes one several times more productive than otherwise.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    My work already requires me to be there for 9hrs a day (1hr lunch) Add some required power naps and make it 10hrs, please!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    17 $ for a sleep room for 20 min. Hmmmm I could make millions!!!! Good Sheeple Good Sheeple, you need rest sheeple.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lucy

    "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."

    This is YOUR post. Calling people lazy. My post merely pointed out that there are people who are NOT lazy, who have to work heinous hours, and that a power nap can help. You having seven children doesn't negate your first post, but it does make me wonder why, having seven children as you claim, you are not a bit more sympathetic who do work two and sometimes even three jobs to support their young ones. While I applaud the fact you say you are not on the government dole, two words: Where's Dad(s)? Oh, and two more: Child support. Oops, two more: Court system. Put them in a question: Where's the Dad(s), why isn't he paying child support, and should I take him through the court system to get what my seven children need?" Just so you can take a nappy noodle, you know.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shinea

    What ever happened to sleeping on your own time and giving your employer the full value for his money. Come to work prepared to give a 100%. Is that REALLY too much to ask?

    May 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PHerz

    Corporate greed disguised as compassion

    May 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lucy

    Shinea: it is not too much to ask if the employer is a fair and equitable one, one who will ask employees to only work 8 hours, and give a fair wage for the work expected of the employee. Alas, too many employers are paying too little, asking to much, and quick to fire for minor infractions because unemployment is so rampant. If my employer keeps whittling down the workforce due to the economy, and expecting the remaining employees to double or even triple their workload for the same amount of money, while freezing pay raises, a nap shouldn't be too much to ask for, especially if they are expected to work longer hours to complete the extra work with no recompense. And this IS happening. More and more. So, in essence, the employer gets three times the value of his buck, and the employee is worked to exhaustion. Oh, and take away the bennies, too, because the employer says he can't afford them anymore. Or you can pay half of the bennies, while working longer hours at a salary cap. Oh, hey, allowing a power nap is looking a little better, huh?

    May 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    Lucy, you have money. Buy me a beer at the Olive Garden; draft please.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lucy

    Cesar, what kind? Will a Bud do?

    May 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A. Nuss

    You Americans are soft, nap at work? What is this kindergarten? maybe when you take your naps you can have your hand held? or maybe a nice story read to you. I know! how about a plate of warm cookies and milk ! GROW UP! its called WORK for a reason.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    Yes Lucy, a tall Bud.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lucy

    Fabulous, Cesar. I'll send it right over.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
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