The process of napping still seems to get its share of stigma, especially when done in the workplace. We’ve created a culture where any sign of sleeping is considered a form of slothfulness, especially when seen in the context of a desk with a pile of work. Yes, all those photographs we’ve seen of someone slumped over a desk with a giant stack of papers probably doesn’t do the process of napping any favors. It also doesn’t show reality based on some companies taking napping more seriously by going far away from the desk.
In this regard, it’s a napping room that might become a mainstream department in every company. While this may sound like a throwback to kindergarten for some, it’s not a far-fetched idea. Last year, devices called “EnergyPods” were featured on NBC’s “Today Show” that look basically like dental chairs with a partial dome over the top. Some companies are placing these EnergyPods in designated nap rooms where lucky employees who have a chance to use them are benefiting.
But the key isn’t allowing employees to sleep for any more than a designated amount of time. Regardless, you have to wonder if other companies will catch on to the idea of napping, even with such luminaries as Arianna Huffington allowing naps in her Huffington Post. This comes from her personal experience of once passing out after working with little to no sleep.
With that threat in mind, how much nap time is really necessary to bring some energy back to your employees before the clock hits 5 p.m.?
The 60-Minute Time Window
Scientific consensus says sleep that goes beyond 60 minutes creates a sleep inertia that begets feelings of wanting even more sleep. That’s because you’re soon getting into REM stages after this point, which may sound more appealing to those with real sleep deficits. The thought of napping for less than 10 minutes may sound worthless by those who think they need multiple hours to feel refreshed.
Evidence has shown, though, that even a six-minute nap can improve your memory if you’re trying to retain information in your job. While this may sound more in tune with a student studying in college, it’s worth experimenting from home to see just how refreshed you actually feel utilizing the catnap concept. Even if it’s no way to keep yourself going around the clock, you may be lucky to find a company that endorses you doing this right from your own desk.
In other cases, the 20-minute nap is said to boost alertness, which may be perfect if a CEO is setting up a late-afternoon meeting when everybody’s energy levels are on their way down.
Then you might find others who tout the 60-minute nap, despite these being rarely implemented in a high-profile company priding itself on constant productivity. There’s also another problem that hasn’t been addressed yet when it comes to utilizing every valuable napping minute.
Can Your Employees Fall Asleep Quickly?
Any challenge with quick naps in companies is the ability of your employees to fall asleep immediately. If you remember naptimes in kindergarten, perhaps you were one of those who could never get to sleep simply because it took you an hour or two to get to sleep. Not everyone is fortunate enough to fall asleep instantly, and it could be a wasted opportunity if you allow nap rooms in your company.
The only way to work around that is to let employees nap when they’re the most tired. When they become exhausted enough, they’ll likely fall asleep quickly. In that regard, you should probably have more than one chair in a nap room. This way, the nap room doesn’t become the equivalent of the single-use restroom that may mean falling asleep outside the door while waiting.