In Spain, it’s called a siesta. In Japan, many office buildings have sound-proof pods for a quick mid-day snooze. And most doctors agree that 20 minutes of sleep during the day is good for your health.
But napping during work hours hasn’t quite punctured Canadian office culture — though a new Toronto-based napping studio is hoping to change that.
For $10, customers at Nap It Up get 25 minutes of uninterrupted sleep in a dimly-lit, 13-bed studio lightly perfumed with lavender-scented humidifiers. Add-ons include a blanket ($3.50), eye mask ($1.50) and anti-snoring nose vents ($5).
Founder Mehzabeen Rahman said she got the idea when she worked for a bank.
“I remember one time at the lunch room I was just dozing off on my table. And then as soon as I was trying to take a nap, somebody just came in and I woke up again,” she told CTV News.
Studies show that the majority of Canadians don’t get enough sleep. Doctors generally recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night for adults. Insufficient rest has been linked to high blood pressure, weight issues, stress and compromised mental health.
That’s a problem that napping can help solve, says Dr. Charles Samuels, medical director for the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary.
“There is a tremendous amount of research that’s has gone into the effectiveness of napping in mitigating a sensation of fatigue and lack of performance and poor concentration,” Samuels said.
In fact, a recent report found that napping just once or twice a week may cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 48 per cent.
Nearly one in three people in North America fall short of recommended sleep targets by 10 to 15 hours per week, Samuels said. But that can be mitigated through what he calls “strategic napping” – a process that can include adding caffeine to improve cognitive performance.
“In my work with law enforcement and elite Olympic athletes, we use napping strategies to help mitigate the fatigue associated with chronic sleep deprivation associated with shift work or travel in the case of an athlete,” he said.
But napping mid-day is a hard sell is many workplaces, where an afternoon snooze may be seen as a sign of laziness. Samuels said he’s seen first-hand that the idea can be “a hard sell” in many industries.
As for whether or not a napping studio is a solution to this problem, Samuels said he isn’t sure.
“The fact is people are sleeping on the job now anyway,” he said.
But Canadian employers should get more comfortable with the idea, according to Sara Alger, a sleep research scientist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
“It increases the amount of work you can do. It increases your mood and your emotion. And so educating people on all of those aspects of the benefits of napping is what we try to do,” she said.
Alger has seen public sentiment around napping shift in her 15 years of research.
“I think a lot of people are getting over the idea that sleep is not important. People are really valuing the idea of sleep in general but napping seems to have a stigma of being something lazy people do, or it’s a waste of time, or it’s only for kids.”
Nap It Up is located at Yonge and Eglinton, an area ideally situated with plenty of office towers and businesses. Unlike napping pods with doors sometimes found at malls and airports, beds at the Toronto napping studio are in one room and separated by curtains.
This content was originally published here.