Posted on

The Science Behind Naps: Fixing Sleep Deprivation in America

It’s not reported enough how many people in the United States have continual deprivation of sleep. Even the CDC declared it a chronic public health problem that never seems to get an adequate solution. Yet, the media frequently touts how naps easily alleviate the problem. This doesn’t necessarily mean everyone can shake the old stigmas of thinking a nap looks bad in the workplace, or wastes time.

Ultimately, naps need a new perspective, especially for those who work long hours. The health benefits behind naps are exponential, though there’s more to napping than you think. They fall into numerous categories to a point where naps nearly have their own medical science niche.

Here in the United States, we may need to look elsewhere for inspiration on using the napping process in the workplace. Overseas, it’s already a common occurrence. Regardless, when leaders start seeing the repercussions behind not letting our workforce take naps, things could start to change quickly.

Much of this could get solved at home as well when finding the right kind of mattress.

Napping in the Workplace

It’s not surprising to see some CEO’s and managers disallow napping in an office setting. They fear that if an employee gets caught napping at their desk, it reflects badly on productivity. Fortunately, it’s not entirely this way in American companies. Entrepreneur did a piece not long ago about how HubSpot allows their employees to take naps in a customized nap room.

However, companies like this aren’t completely mainstream. The first successes behind napping in work environments came from Japan. They’ve built an entire culture around napping, and it’s entirely expected for every employee there to sleep on the job.

Their napping culture goes by the name Inemuri, which basically translates to “sleep while being present.” It’s perhaps the best translation available in defining what naps can do. The point here is those in Japan have expectations for employees to work hard in every job. It’s a sign of respect to work yourself toward exhaustion, hence giving more credence to Inemuri being acceptable.

Some Americans who’ve worked in Japan become surprised when they see CEO’s of companies there sleep openly, sometimes during meetings. Those who move overseas can’t comprehend this as a respectful sign rather than being rude during a presentation.

Yes, there is a caveat to Inemuri. You have to stay in an upright position when you nap as a sign you’re still basically attentive. These naps also can’t go on for long periods.

At this point, you should start to explore the science behind quick naps and how beneficial they are. This process isn’t just relegated to the workplace either and in the home where not everyone naps enough.

How Long Should You Nap?

When you look around the net, you’ll find some other American companies starting to mimic Japan and HubSpot above. Places like Zappos, Nike, NASA, and Huffington Post now have nap rooms, or similar environments for employee meditation.

Almost all of them employ a 20-minute nap concept that all sleep experts say is ideal to refresh your mind while not delaying productivity. The 20-minute nap concept gets designated as a “stage two”, and it already helps your alertness level, job performance, and mood. It keeps you above the REM sleep stage as well, which is important in its own way.

While some workplaces may allow 30-minute naps, they take you into deeper sleep stages. When waking from a REM-stage nap, it’s much harder to get yourself awake due to grogginess.

In that regard, the 20-minute nap is really the perfect pattern we should all use, including at home. Since lack of sleep always starts in the home first, you could basically refresh yourself sleeping 20 extra minutes before going to work, or perhaps during a lunch hour.

Looking beyond quick naps, though, is a long list of health benefits that can help you long-term. If doing napping around the house, you have several types of naps to nurture a better routine in making these work around your life schedule.

What Type of Nap Works Best for You?

The National Sleep Foundation says three nap categories exist that help you start a more effective and recurring napping routine.

1. With planned napping, you plan a nap before you actually become sleepy to get your sleeping done before a busy part of the day.

2. Emergency naps are necessary when you’re feeling exhausted during an important job and can’t function without at least a 20-minute refresh.

3. Using the habitual napping process, you take a nap at the same time every day for more consistency.

These three naps work just as well in the workplace as they do at home. In a work environment, employees should work out a consistent schedule on napping, especially when dealing with off-hour shift schedules throwing off sleeping patterns.

The Extensive Health Benefits Behind Napping

Having healthier sleep patterns helps your health in more ways than just making you become more alert. We don’t stop and consider how sleep deprivation can potentially bring health problems later that could become far too challenging to completely recover from.

Lack of sleep already causes more stress, which only cascades to other issues in the mind and body. With a nap, you could already improve your memory five times over, according to sleep science.

Going beyond your mind, you can prevent yourself from gorging on unhealthy foods. Scientists who study sleep deprivation show lack of sleep increases your appetite hormones called leptin and gherkin, hence making you want to eat more. If you’ve felt like you can’t control your cravings for sugar and salty foods after not sleeping well, this explains why. Unfortunately, this could lead to diabetes later in life.

Your heart is even affected by not taking part in napping. Men’s Health quotes a British study saying just one night of bad sleep can make your blood vessels less flexible.

Beyond this lies the quality level of your naps. What kind of environment do you need to create to make a nap successful every day? Also, have you considered what kind of mattress you’re using in your home or job to make your sleep more comfortable?

Creating the Right Nap Environment

You obviously want to design nap rooms with no noise or other obstructions preventing quality meditation. The National Sleep Foundation reminds us all that the feel of where you nap needs particular focus. This includes bed surfaces with subtle problems preventing you from obtaining good sleep in the first place.

Mattress materials make a huge difference in the temperature you feel in the room. Some materials essentially trap heat and affect how warm you sleep.

Natural materials in mattresses help immensely, including eliminating risks from chemicals. This said, don’t assume natural material mattresses are beyond your reach financially, because they aren’t when finding the right sources.

Here at Urban Mattress, we provide these mattresses at straightforward prices and a no-pressure sales staff. Contact your local Urban Mattress store so we can help you find a mattress to nurture a more effective napping environment in any location.

No one said a good mattress can’t go directly into a corporate nap room where you and your employees can enhance a more productive work life.