What happens in New York, rarely stays in New York. Once New Yorkers started forking over $250 a month for the privilege of an afternoon nap at posh nap boutiques, you knew it was only a matter of time before napping pods started popping up in London, Madrid, Tokyo and yes, Toronto.
Fortunately, frugal Canadians are more likely than New Yorkers to get their zzzs for free, thanks to enlightened employers such as CompuVision in Edmonton with its own in-house nap pod, and retailers such as Casper Sleep Shop, offering nap samplers.
Ben & Jerry’s corporate offices have been offering their employees a nap room for more than a decade, while Google, Uber and The Huffington Post have more recently embraced the power napping trend.
But what is with the sudden urge to sleep? Have people around the world not been napping since God, in her infinite wisdom, invented eyelids? Yes, but according to health and trend experts, we’ve not been napping nearly enough.
Many are now dusting off a story in The Guardian from 2009 that reported a mere 60-minute nap can improve alertness for up to 10 hours. Pilots who indulged in a 26-minute “Nasa” nap enhanced their performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. A Harvard study found that a 45-minute nap can improve learning and memory.
More recently, sleep specialist Manisha Witmans told Global News that, “Even short naps, as little as seven to 10 minutes, can be really helpful to be restorative.” She went on to cite studies in China that show people who nap regularly function better and are more alert. According to Witmans, a short snooze can boost energy and problem-solving skills.
And boy, do we have problems to solve. Trade wars on Twitter, Paris is burning, the bulls are wrestling with the bears (Sorry Virginia, there is no Santa Claus rally this year) – who among us couldn’t use a little decompression these days? When the market is plummeting, do you buy more shares on the dip, do you sell your current holdings to preserve your profits, or do you do nothing at all? Do you call your broker every morning or do you quietly slide your unopened account statements into a desk drawer? When faced with tough choices, maybe what you really need, is to ‘sleep on it’.
The concept of ‘sleep on it’ doesn’t have to mean overnight. When fraught with the urgent problems of the day, a moment of shut-eye can provide just the peace and quiet an overwhelmed brain needs to find the answers. A short power nap can refresh one’s perspective and get a few creative ideas percolating again.
And if you can’t wait for your boss to invest in one, you could always install your own “Productivity Boosting Nap Pod”, available at Hammacher Schlemmer for a mere $16,000 USD. It is duty free though, for now…