Written by: Allyson Hoffman
Updated February 24, 2021
Have you ever felt your eyes droop at work? Have you stifled yawns during a meeting or wished you could just take a quick power nap? What difference could a good mid-day nap make for your workday? Or for your overall health?
At some companies, napping on the job isn’t something to be ashamed of—it’s encouraged!
According to a 2008 survey from the National Sleep Foundation, 34% of U.S. companies allow naps (1) during breaks at work. Some offices even have designated nap pods or nap rooms.
This trend of allowing naps at work is expected to continue because napping has many benefits. A nap—no longer than 30 minutes (2)—helps your body recharge and refocus on the task at hand. Night-shift napping has been shown to decrease sleepiness (3) on the job and improve workplace outcomes. Plus, taking 1–2 naps a week can reduce your chances of stroke, heart attack, or heart failure (4).
Many companies have embraced the benefits of napping at work because it makes a difference in the lives of their employees.
At Google, nap pods from MetroNaps (5) are available to employees looking for a private place to snooze. These nap pods are shaped like the Pac-Dots that Pac-Man eats. The office nap pods include a privacy visor, a pre-programmed twenty-minute nap setting (6), built-in speakers, and timed waking.
Sounds comfy, right? Vice President of Real Estate & Workplace Services at Google in Mountain View, CA, David Radcliffe, agrees: “No workplace is complete without a nap pod” (5).
Office sleep pods are also a part of the culture at the Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post raved about them: “When we first started the nap rooms, people were reluctant to use them. Now, we need to open a third one; they are so overbooked. People blog even about the impact it has on them to just get 20 minutes [of sleep] in the middle of the afternoon” (5).
MetroNaps pods are also seen on the Cisco campus (7). Another great health benefit the IT company offers employees is a 44,000 square foot fitness center (8). In addition to fitness equipment, the center holds a pilates studio, spinning studio, and yoga studio. By providing amenities pertaining to both sleep and fitness, Cisco is preparing their employees to become their healthiest.
Ben & Jerry’s
Not only can Ben & Jerry's employees take three pints of ice cream home per day (9), they can also rest up during the workday. “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 from the Ben & Jerry’s based in Burlington, Vermont.
Employees have access to a nap room, nicknamed the Da Vinci Room (10), for a 20-minute snooze. “If people need to catch a little snooze during the day to do the best possible job they can do, we’re behind it,” the representative says. The famous ice cream company is also dog-friendly (9) and has an on-site gym with yoga classes (11).
Across its many global campuses, Facebook offers employees places to rest. Both the London engineering office and Seattle office have Podtime nap pods (12). These capsule shaped pods have sliding doors for privacy. The pods reduce noise and have mattresses so employees can take a quick snooze comfortably.
Studio O + A, an interior design firm, designed the quiet spaces at Uber’s San Francisco headquarters. Principal designer Denise Cherry described the goal of the rooms (13):
"For Uber, a company known for regulatory battles, we were tasked with creating a room built for maximum efficiency—a room so built for work that no one would need to leave. This included a living room space, a kitchenette, and, of course, small focus rooms that double as nap rooms."
Zappos employees may enjoy a deep blue sleep in the midst of swimming saltwater fish. The Tank is a communal nap room with a 25-foot, 3,500-gallon saltwater aquarium (14). Each of the room’s four massage chairs has a curved hood so employees can lie back and watch fish swimming above them.
Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shared his thinking behind The Tank and other amenities with Marketplace in 2010 (15): “For us, our number one priority as a company is company culture, and our whole belief is that if we get the culture right then most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.”
Zappos employees can nap in The Tank during lunchtime, work breaks, or whenever they feel like they need a quick snooze to recharge (14).
Benefits of Napping at Work
Researchers suggest that employers look at the cost of not allowing naps. Insufficient employee sleep leads to (18):
- Less productivity
- More absences at work
- Greater risk of errors
- Increased chance of workplace accidents and injuries
- Higher health care costs
- Company financial loss
If working for an employer who helps you stay healthy, rested, and happy to work is important to you, consider looking for opportunities at nap-friendly workspaces.
- https://www.sleepfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/2008_POLL_SOF.pdf?x25214 Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/sleep-and-wakefulness-disorders/approach-to-the-patient-with-a-sleep-or-wakefulness-disorder Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23411360/ Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://heart.bmj.com/content/105/23/1793 Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.metronaps.com/clients Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.metronaps.com/#epod Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://twitter.com/wearecisco/status/804339276418842625 Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.businessinsider.in/enterprise/mobile/inside-the-secret-world-at-cisco-headquarters-filled-with-heroes-mythical-nap-pods-and-goats/slidelist/49266478.cms#slideid=49266599 Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.benjerry.com/flavors/3-pints-a-day Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50396297 Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2015/06/ben-jerrys-employer-brand-recipe-its-about-more-than-just-the-cookie-dough Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.businessinsider.com/we-got-an-exclusive-tour-of-facebooks-engineering-office-in-london-2018-11 Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.inc.com/zoe-henry/google-uber-and-other-companies-where-you-can-nap-at-the-office.html Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.zappos.com/about/stories/nap-room-sleeping-with-fishes Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://www.marketplace.org/2010/08/19/zappos-ceo-tony-hsieh-full-interview-transcript/ Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8899936/ Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20176120/ Accessed on February 15, 2021.
- https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/42/8/zsz097/5544708 Accessed on February 15, 2021.