POSTED: April 05 2016
Sleeping on the job

Sleeping on the job

A city centre business has introduced ‘nap-time’ for employees in a bid to boost productivity. The UK-based BrightHR has created a new sleep room in their office to allow staff to take part in a pioneering new study to test the power of napping on the job.

Working with leading bed makers Silentnight and their resident sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, BrightHR is one of the first UK companies to trial the benefits of ‘sleeping on the job’ and having a power nap.

Opening up a nap room in its Manchester office, the company is encouraging staff to come and take a short sleep during working hours.

The nap-room has been specially designed to have a soporific effect on participants, with temperature, lighting and ambience all created to induce sleep quickly.

A king size bed, with the latest mattress technology has also been installed to ensure that employees enjoy the most restful nap.

The term power nap, describes a short sleep, which terminates before the occurrence of deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS), with the intention of quickly revitalising the subject.

The organisation – a people management software company – hope 40 winks will boost concentration, energy levels and creativity among their hardworking employees.

It has long been believed a quick snooze can help with deep concentration and cognitive skills, with the Prime Minster, David Cameron admitting to taking the odd power nap to help get him through a busy day.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine found the risk of an extended absence from work due to sickness rose sharply among those who reported sleeping less than six hours or more than nine hours.

However, despite their apparent benefits, UK work places are yet to adopt napping during work hours in a bid to increase productivity.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight sleep expert, said: “The people taking part in the study will need to wind down as they enter the nap room. But we don’t want them to enter a deep sleep, so the lighting in the room is dimmed but it’s not too dark.

“The room is a tranquil place with few distractions in terms of decoration and no electrical devices.

“All nappers will be asked to leave their phones outside of the room and will go through some deep breathing exercises to help them switch off from work.

“The ideal power-nap is 10 to 20 minutes long, we will be inviting people to come and have a short sleep after lunchtime and then will measure their productivity afterwards.

“We expect that people will feel refreshed and energised – and their ability to recall information in the afternoon will be stronger. We will test this via a number of exercises.”

Participants have been specially selected to include workers of various ages, positions and fitness levels, over 20 percent of the BrightHR workforce will take part in the study over a 28 day period.

Paul Harris, Co-Founder and CMO of BrightHR said: “We are passionate about the importance of fun and play at work, and believe this is key to productivity and creativity. From day one we always wanted our office to be a really engaging place for the team to enjoy.

“We have a 50ft long Jack and the Beanstalk’s Garden themed breakout space with bean bags, football nets, space hoppers and NERF guns, and we actively encourage the team to use these throughout the course of their day. Introducing a bed seemed like a good next step to make the team feel relaxed and take some time out away from their desks.

“Power naps have been adopted by other countries. In China and Japan it is not unusual to see an office worker place a pillow on their desk and have a quick doze during the working day. Millennials dominate the UK workforce and they are an ‘always on’ generation who would think it is more professional to power through, as opposed to taking a power nap. It is therefore important to educate on the power of sleep and the positive effect this has on productivity.”

Results of the power nap study in association with Silentnight and BrightHR will be published later in the year.

Silentnight’s sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan’s, five top tips for napping are:

Don’t nap for more than 20 minutes
Remove all technology from the room
Unlike sleeping, when napping the room should have dimmed lighting but don’t make it dark as you don’t want to fall in to a deep sleep
Treat it as a rest, not a sleep. This way you won’t put pressure on yourself to drift off straight away
3pm is the optimum nap time as we have a natural drop in energy levels at this time of day

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