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Pitch This to Your Boss: Nap Pods Are the Next Big Thing in Sleep (And Work)

Picture this. It’s three in the afternoon and you’re starting to lag. You’ve had a long day, maybe an even longer night, and you need to catch up on sleep. If you were in Spain you might be able to nip back home for a little siesta. But you’re Australia, the UK or the US, where napping at your desk is definitely Not A Thing.

But what if there was a space you could visit where, for a nominal fee, you could rent a blacked-out room for a little shuteye? And what if these became readily available across big cities around the world and welcome into everyone’s working life as part of a wellness routine, like going to the gym or catching a lunchtime yoga class?

Enter the nap pod

That’s the idea behind a number of different startups offering nap pods in big cities. Each business has subtle differences. Mattress business Casper has an area in its downtown New York boutique called The Dreamery for a high-end napping experience (Sunday Riley face cream, pyjamas and a Scandi-minimalist design) while Nap York, just around the corner from Times Square, is all business, with pods painted black, a comfortable single bed and an eye mask to really shut out the world.

Both will set you back between $25-27 a pod, and bookings can be made in advance or by walking into the space. While there you can sleep, take part in a guided meditation or simply relax, cocooned in a pod far away from the stresses of the office.

In London, there’s Pop and Rest in Shoreditch, founded by two young expats working in big offices craving a bit of rest, which boasts rooms large enough to truly unwind and Bluetooth powered headsets that can play whatever soothing music you need to drift off.

In Sydney and you’re a member of Virgin Active gyms you can book in to use one of their sleep pods, which are designed to ease you in and out of a 20-minute nap. Similar in design to the nap pods on offer for employees at the Google and Facebook head offices in Silicon Valley, Virgin Active’s pods have a large headset that fits over your upper body while your lower half reclines on the chair. When it’s time to wake up again the pod softly vibrates and uses musical queues to wake you up.

How long should you nap?

Somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour is the optimal napping length, according to studies. Anything longer and you risk dipping into a full REM cycle, which can impact your nightly sleep routines. (Although Pop and Rest’s co-founder Mauricio Villamizar says that they have received a lot of interest from weary, jet-lagged travellers arriving into London and craving three hours of sleep, as well as new parents working office jobs who didn’t get any rest the night before.)

The health benefits of napping are well documented: A short nap lasting between 20 minutes and an hour can boost your mood, increase your productivity, decrease your stress and anxiety and improve your alertness. A study conducted by NASA on a group of pilots found that a 40-minute nap increased performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.

We’ve all risen from a nap miraculously re-energised and re-centred, ready to face the rest of the day. We all know how that feels.

But napping remains taboo in our work culture, despite the fact that its benefits have been proven. Stylish, streamlined napping businesses like Pop and Rest and Nap York, as well as the inclusion of nap pods inside gyms like Virgin Active in Sydney, aims to redress this.

They want to make napping a part our everyday, busy working lives. They want workers to feel comfortable popping out of the office for a quick, half an hour snooze the same way they might leave the office for a coffee break, to take a spin class, or to run into the post office during their lunch hour. They want to normalise napping.

“Our entire society is sleep-deprived,” Manisha Witmans, a sleep expert, told Global News Canada earlier this year. “We’re all sleeping much less than we used to.”

The solution, she explains, is to take a nap. The only question is would you pay for the privilege?

Now that we’re on the topic, here are 10 simple ways to enhance the quality of your sleep – starting from tonight! – plus the 7 things making you tired… that have nothing to do with how much you’re sleeping.

Discover our range of luxurious and accessible 100% French flax linen bedding here.

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