Most of us stop taking daily naps while our age is still in the single digits, but now taking a midday snooze is becoming one of the most talked-about lifestyle trends among adults. Nap rooms and napping clubs are popping up, allowing the restless and overworked to get some necessary shut-eye. Big U.S. cities like New York and Los Angeles are already adopting the trend, and nap facilities like Nap York and Spa Lé La are getting major press for being popular luxury nap destinations.
The benefits of napping are undeniable, and sleep educators say naps are linked to higher productivity, improved mood, and lower stress levels. “Napping provides many benefits, but for some reason, having a cup of coffee in the afternoon has been considered more socially acceptable than napping,” sleep educator Terry Cralle, RN, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Studies have shown caffeine may help keep you awake, Cralle says, but it is not a substitute for the restorative powers of sleep.
To give you a closer look into why the nap room trend has taken off, we spoke to the brains behind sleeping-related businesses to discuss naps and why they’re definitely here to stay.
The role self-care plays in napping
Napping isn’t a new or groundbreaking concept, but the recent emphasis on self-care (and the increasing amount of sleep disorders) has caused the popularity of naps to soar, says Stacy Veloric, director of marketing at Nap York, a 24-hour New York City club devoted solely to napping and relaxation.
“The response to Nap York has definitely exceeded our expectations,” Veloric tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We opened with just seven pods, and in the short period of time, we had to add 23 more pods to be able to accommodate exhausted Nap Yorkers who come in.”
Trina Renea, founder of Spa Lé La in Los Angeles, has also seen an increased interest in her spa’s nap room. “We created a special nap room with a cozy, comfortable, warm bed, a weighted sleep blanket, soft sheets, comforter and pillow, and warm flaxseed pillows,” Renea says. “People are always so intrigued when we explain why we have the nap room at the spa.”
Like Veloric, Renea is in total agreement about the role self-care plays in the napping boom and says a 20-minute nap can help ward off stress. Unlike meditation spaces, which usually have people sitting on yoga mats and meditating to different sounds or quietness, she says a nap room is like sleeping in a private bed or taking an actual nap in the middle of the afternoon in a quiet, distraction-free place.
“Our world is all about self-care right now, so I am hoping that people will catch on and incorporate it into their lives more,” she says about naps. “It is a proven fact that if you take a nap for 20 minutes in the day you will live a longer healthier life. Plus, your entire day will be more productive.”
How sleep businesses are investing in sleep
In the 15 years he has been involved in the sleep business, Christopher Lindholst, CEO and co-founder of MetroNaps, says he has seen a drastic increase in the public’s awareness of the importance of sleep. From his perspective, it’s hard to deny the traction sleep technology is gaining, as sleep tracking apps and wearable tech are revolutionizing how we rest. Lindholst is revolutionizing how we sleep too, via his company’s carefully designed EnergyPods — a very tangible representation of the importance of sleep in the workplace.
“The EnergyPod is a chair specifically designed for taking a nap in the workplace,” Lindholst tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We wanted to create a device that would allow people to have a sense of privacy and security and was effective for promoting sleep in general.”
To date, MetroNaps has installed its unique EnergyPods in universities, hospitals, and businesses in more than 30 countries. It counts a number of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as clients.
Mattress retailers like Casper are also cashing in on the importance of napping. Eleanor Morgan, SVP of Experience at Casper, says she has seen an increased demand for experiences that enable people to rest and recharge. To answer the growing demand, she and the Casper team developed the Casper Sleep Shop in New York City to draw public attention to sleep. The shop currently features six miniature homes (consumers can book a 20-minute “sleep trial” appointment at the Casper Sleep Shop), where customers can experience Casper products in privacy and peace.
“By putting sleep at the center of the conversation, we hope these experiences will shift cultural norms toward celebrating sleep instead of neglecting it,” Morgan says. “I think we’ll see even more experiences pop up in this category as the demand continues to increase and people invest more in sleep.”
How medical professionals view the trend
The American Sleep Association reports that as many as 50 percent to 70 percent of Americans currently have a sleep disorder, and while naps won’t fix that, they might help. Cwanza Pinckney, MD, an emergency-room doctor, says that napping helps cognitive function and creative thinking and improves short- and long-term medical performance. With this in mind, she notes that companies are investing in napping, because studies have shown it boosts alertness by 30 to 50 percent.
“Midday sleepiness can cost companies over $18 million a year in lost productivity,” says Pinckney. “Companies like Google and Buffer have shown through improved employee productivity, engagement, and company loyalty that by focusing on the overall wellness of employees is beneficial to the company profit margin and vital in creating a company culture of happy employees who are more connected to the company’s mission, vision, and values.”
Cralle is in agreement: “The trend surrounding napping will only continue to grow,” she says. “Nap rooms and sleep technology represent a shift away from the Western culture mind-set of working 24/7 to a more meaningful and balanced mind-set of focused, effective productivity through studied and effective strategies centered around wellness and the desire of all people: to get more sleep.”
Cralle adds about nap rooms, “I predict — and hope! — that they are here to stay.”
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