Sleeping at work is smart business

Sleeping at workSleeping on the job was once considered taboo, but today, more and more companies are encouraging employees to take a mid-shift snooze. Turns out, it’s a wise practice: Almost 30% of workers report falling asleep or becoming very sleepy at work, and a lack of sleep costs the United States $63 billion each year in lost productivity. But a short twenty-minute nap can boost alertness and improve performance—both important when you’re on the job.

Companies with a strong commitment to employee wellness recognize the benefits of on-site napping. “We look out for our employees’ quality of life, and providing space and time for naps is just another way for us to take care of the people who work there,” says a representative at the Burlington, Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s. The company supplies a room with a bed and pillows that employees can use as needed. “If people need to catch a little snooze during the day to do the best possible job they can do, we’re behind it,” says the representative.

Employee well-being is just one benefit to company-sponsored napping. Another important bonus: improved employee performance. In the 1990s, NASA recognized sleep’s crucial role for astronauts and experimented with short naps during their workdays. Not surprisingly, performance skyrocketed.  The “NASA nap” is a common practice among pilots making international flights for airlines such as Continental and British Airways.

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