Should employees be allowed to nap at work?

Should employees be allowed to nap at work?

Experts claim employers should consider allowing workers time to take a nap during work hours. Dr Lawrence Epstein, previous president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Medical Director of Clinical Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says that an estimated 70% of Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. He argues that allowing a nap at work would increase productivity rather than diminish it.

According to a recent academic study of 150,000, 35.6% reported getting 7 hours of sleep per night or less. This is an increase from 2010 where only 30.9% of respondents claimed to get minimal amounts of sleep. Around half of the total respondents worked within the police force or healthcare.

The issue was brought to light recently as the US Government has enforced a specific ban on federal employees napping on the job. It is not clear what encouraged the very specific ruling, the General Services Administration refused to comment.

Dr Epstein told the BBC: "Some companies are becoming more aware of that and are providing ways to address [the issue]. Unfortunately, I don't think our government agencies are on the lead on this.

"It is something that can and should be addressed but unfortunately often isn't."

Lack of sleep has been correlated to a multitude of health issues including obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression.

Many sleep experts agree with Dr Epstein that employees should be allowed time to sleep during work as it could benefit their health, work productivity and, in the grand scheme of things, the economy.

Some companies are beginning to get involved in the idea, with Ben & Jerry’s providing small nap rooms for workers. Employees are allowed 20 minutes and must remove their shoes.

Employees of the ice cream company have praised the initiative, claiming to feel “refreshed” and “more productive”.


Emma Richardson