It has been estimated that nearly one-third of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, the effects of which can be devastating. To the individual, this can result in lowered memory and cognitive functioning, an increase in stress, plus higher rates of depression and other health risks. For businesses, your employees’ level of sleep can also have a substantial impact. In fact, some studies show the cost to businesses being upwards of $60 billion each year.
It should be pretty obvious how the personal effects of sleep deprivation can quickly leak into one’s job performance and workplace morale, contributing to absenteeism and even turnover rates. What is potentially more surprising, however, is the fact that some big-name companies – like Google and HubSpot – are going as far as creating nap rooms for employees to catch up on sleep during the day.
Everyone knows that sleep is important (hopefully), but do you know why? It is during this time that the brain removes toxic proteins that build up during the day. If you – or your employees – are getting less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night, it means that these toxic proteins are not being effectively removed. These individuals are at increased risk of some serious health conditions, which include heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Luckily, more and more companies are beginning to really recognize the importance of this time, and even embrace the idea of short naps in the workplace. Something as quick as a 20- or 25-minute nap can provide a significant increase in productivity and alertness. The best time to do this is in the early afternoon, typically soon after lunch. However, it is important to remember that napping longer than 30 minutes can actually increase the level of grogginess, as you enter a deeper sleep cycle.
The idea of a nap room at work is still pretty unconventional. It will likely still take time and more open conversation before more companies totally embrace this idea. And just because you install a nap room does not mean that it will automatically catch on with employees. If you want your team to actually take advantage of this, it would help for them to see management using it as well. Otherwise, it is likely they will still feel like they are slacking on their work and will be judged. Of course, you will want to make sure that employees continue to turn in their deliverables on time and perform at a high standard – you do not want people taking advantage of the nap room!
There is no overstating the importance of sleep on an individual’s – and company’s – wellbeing. When your employees are well-rested, they will produce better and more efficient work, and be happier throughout the process.