Entry 224: The Joy of Napping

In 2011, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll in which 43% of AmericansIMG_1516 claimed they don’t get enough sleep. The other 57% were asleep when the poll was taken.

This raises an important question: “There’s a National Sleep Foundation?”

Indeed there is. And, without it, there would be no National Sleep Awareness Week, “the annual week-long campaign to celebrate the health benefits of sleep.” In fact, this year’s week was March 3-10, but perhaps you slept through it.

Whether or not you celebrated National Sleep Awareness Week (perhaps by throwing an Ambien Party), you should know that researchers around the world have come to the conclusion that Spanish-speaking countries in which siestas are popular have had the right idea all along. Humans evidently function better when they take an afternoon snooze.

If more researchers spoke Spanish, we all could have started taking naps decades ago.

I discovered the joys of napping in the 1990s, and a nice nap is always the highlight of my weekend.  This means that, for once in my life, I’m ahead of a trend. And also that I am not a very exciting person.

Since I started working at home 20 years ago, I’ve had a bed in my office, where I can often catch a few z’s even on a workday. Before that, when I was a honcho at major ad agencies, I’d have to sleep upright in my desk chair.

But for many corporations, it is simply not practical for every employee to have a bed in his or her office. For one thing, most offices these days barely have enough room for the employee, much less a bed. So forward-thinking companies like Google, Proctor & Gamble and The Huffington Post have installed “nap rooms,” where sleep-deprived employees can grab 20 minutes of shut-eye during the day and where, inevitably, sexual relations will take place.

Arianna Huffington herself is on record as firmly believing in the restorative power of arianna-huffington[1]naps,* although she herself sleeps with that quaint accent of hers. I do not know her stand on sexual relations.

Anyway, although I’m on the cutting edge of workday napping, I admit I’m a bit behind on workday napping technology. This should not surprise anyone who marvels at the fact that I still have an AOL e-mail address.

But even if my online communications are mired in 1988,** I clearly need to bring my napping into the 21st Century.

I need an EnergyPod.

According to the website of Metronaps, the company that makes the EnergyPod:

“Based on years of research, the world’s first chair designed specifically for napping combines stylish design with ergonomic functionality to create the ideal energy enhancing environment.”

relaxing-massage-chair[1]The site goes on to explain that the EnergyPod is “Ergonomic Perfection” and gives the user “Comfortable Privacy” with a sphere that provides “semi-privacy without overly enclosing.” You can even rotate the privacy visor for additional seclusion, or, you know, sexual relations.

The thing even emits “specially devised rhythms” to “facilitate relaxation and eliminate surrounding distractions.” Basically, this means you won’t be able to hear your boss yelling at you to wake up, or the couple in the next pod having sexual relations.

Finally, the EnergyPod wakes you up after your 20-minute nap by executing “a programmed combination of lights and vibration.” I’m assuming that you don’t have to put a quarter in a box in order for this to happen. It’s also quite possible that some employees will be finished with their “naps” long before the 20 minutes are up.

The EnergyPod is hardly the only podlike sleeping device out there that has taken years to lomme-5_ZKpgY_3858[1]develop.  For instance, there is also the LOMME, which is an acronym for “Light Over Matter Mind Evolution,” which sounds kind of frightening.  Frankly, it looks a lot more comfortable than the EnergyPod, not to mention more conducive for you-kn0w-what, but with a name like that, I’d be concerned that it was secretly doing something to my brain while I was sleeping.

Corporations that are installing these napping rooms are convinced that employees’ productivity will rise sharply if they are given the chance to rest during the day. One executive is even quoted as conjecturing that naps will become the new coffee breaks.

But anyone who has ever worked in an office environment knows what these rooms will also be used for, and that’s fine, because when you factor in the time it would take to go to a motel and come back to the office, that use, too, will increase productivity.

Anyway, writing this has made me sleepy.  See you soon.

*During a TED talk on the topic, she told a gathering of women that they should “literally sleep your way to the top.”

**On the plus side, if I ever go into politics, I can guarantee that my aspirations for higher office will not be jeopardized by ill-advised tweets.

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