Napping is the New Coffee Break

Reading in Time magazine about this exciting new trend, taking a 20 minute nap at work. I’m getting sleepy just reading about it.

“MetroNaps, a company that pioneered the concept of selling naps in sleep environments, is seeing the change in corporate attitudes firsthand. The New York City– based company opened its first sleep-pod center in 2004 in the Empire State Building, a place where workers could pay $14 and discreetly tuck in to one of the pod-shaped, hooded recliners for a midday nap and recharge for 20 minutes.

The company is expanding the concept with franchises — the first one opened in New York City’s financial district in March — but MetroNaps co-founder Arshad Chowdhury says he is discovering a new line of business in pods for office use. As he scouted for franchises, he kept getting requests for individual pods that companies could use on-site.

Chowdhury’s first client, the ad agency Arc Worldwide in London, leased two pods from MetroNaps after using them in a commercial. “We researched naps, and I think they really do contribute to better idea generation,” says Andrew Card, Arc’s president. Hannah Roberts, a communications manager at Arc, heads for the sleep pods behind the reception desk whenever she gets hit by a bout of afternoon lethargy and creative block. If she is lucky enough to find one empty, she leans back in the recliner, pulls down the visor, puts on noise-canceling earphones and drifts. Fifteen minutes later, the chair gently vibrates and brings her upright, block removed. “I would use them every day, but I have to share them with 450 other people,” she says.

Is napping the new coffee break? Sleep experts say that day is getting closer for farsighted businesses. “I’m seeing a surge in bosses’ saying, ‘I want to bring this into my business,'” says Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher at the Salk Institute. “Usually the boss is a napper.”