When you think of afternoon naps, you may conjure up memories of rest rugs on the kindergarten floor. But naps are not just for babies and toddlers anymore.
Members of the accounting profession are joining adults from many professions in the latest energizing office trend – quick naps at the workplace. Indeed a National Sleep Foundation survey found that 33% of workers admitted they would take advantage of the opportunity to nap at work if their bosses allowed it.
Health speialists have been promoting the benefits of power napping for years. And while many employees may be wary of getting caught napping on the job, there is scientific evidence that 30-60 minute naps can actually improve worker performance measurably.
Pittsburghlive.com reports that Big Four firm Deloitte has installed an official nap room in its downtown Pittsburgh offices at One PPG Place. Deloitte receptionist Mickey Hunkele indicates that the nap room is rarely empty. "It gets hectic at times or there are times when you are just tired and need a couple of minutes to rejuvenate," the receptionist said.
Deloitte's nap room contains a lounge chair and an alarm clock. "Things are so crazy at times people need something like this," said Rick Mitchell, the firm's operations manager.
Scientific experiments on the relationship of sleep habits to work performance have produced results that support the claim that naps are useful in the workplace. Because today's busy workers are often early risers, they can miss valuable late stage rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that occurs in the last hours of a full night of sleep.
Harvard researches have determined that the body relies on overnight sleep for memory consolidation and improvement on perpetual tasks. When a person cuts the sleep cycle short by rising before the body would normally awaken, some of this overnight brain function is lost. Daytime naps can serve to replace sleep not taken at night. Researchers claim that daytime naps have a positive effect on worker productivity.
Some New Yorkers have taken power naps to a new level. Last May, a business called MetroNaps opened in the Empire State Building. The company offers individual, semi-enclosed nap pods that Manhattan workers rent for $14 per 20-minute nap. The service seems to be catching on. MetroNaps' owners plan to expand the business to other parts of the country.