Those post-luncheon hours are surely dreary for all us, when we heavily feel drowsy and sluggish. Some drink coffee while others not relying on the power of caffeine, rely on their immense willpower to maintain their semblance of being awake.
Understanding this natural phenomenon, many countries around the world have had adopted ‘sleep at work’ culture since long to enhance the productivity of the workers. Some of the factors that contribute to the creation of ‘sleep at work’ culture include geographical location, high temperature, heavy intake of food at the midday meal etc.
Let’s take a peek at some of popular cultures:
‘Inemuri’ in Japan
If you see a Japanese co-worker catching 40 winks in his/her cubicle, then don’t roll your eyes as they are just practicing ‘Inemuri’. It is a Japanese practice of sleeping on the job called as ‘Inemuri’, which literally means ‘sleeping while present’. In Japan, it is considered as a proof of hard work for employees who spend too much time working round-the-clock, that they don’t get enough sleep at home and that’s why they practice inemuri in office. Today, more and more companies are encouraging practice of napping so that employees are able to perform better at work. Sounds ironical! But that’s how it is in Japan. Even Japanese health ministry is also recommending that workers should take a 30-minute nap in the afternoon.
‘Yin and Yang’ in China
In china, sleep is considered as part of Yin and Yang i.e. the natural rhythm of the body. Yin signifies passive force while Yang denotes active force. It is believed that when Yang diminishes and Yin is in abundant, then one’s eyes close and when Yin is depleting and Yang is predominant, then one is awake. Therefore, yin and yang take their turns to make people feel sleepy. It is not considered natural to disturb this rhythm. Adhering to the philosophy, in Shanghai, there are “nap bars” close to executive centers where soft music and alarm clocks are provided to the employees who want to take power nap. The right length of a nap is just 15 to 30 minutes, and no more. It is essential to stay active and awake in order to release the yang during the day.
‘Riposo’ in Italy
In Italy, it is called as ‘Riposo’. During riposo, most shops, businesses, museums, churches – just about everything - closes or they just lower their shutters to enable proprietors and workers to snooze a little during the hottest hour of work. This traditional early afternoon shutdown in Italy varies from business to business; the duration usually lasts about 90 minutes to two hours between 1 pm to 3 pm. Italians believe taking timeout to sleep during the day not just gives quick energy boost to employees but also confers some serious cognitive health benefits.
‘Siesta’ in Spain
Another most popular culture is ‘Siesta’ in Spain which means sixth hour of the day i.e. midday rest, counting from the dawn. Siesta is deeply ingrained in the Spanish culture as businesses often close during afternoons to accommodate the mid-day rest. But today siesta culture is gradually disappearing due to pressure on job as many are unwilling or unable to take long breaks.
A catching trend in U.S.
In the U.S., napping isn’t quite a culture but many big companies such as Google, the Huffington Post, and Ben & Jerry's are increasingly becoming nap-friendly in order to increase productivity of workers. They have even introduced nap rooms or futuristic sleep pods for employees. Cashing on the idea , companies such as ‘Yelo’ are selling napping services in midtown Manhattan , where a 20-minute snooze can cost you around $15.
Napping at work is surely trending but still it is considered far from the norm as it requires self -discipline and monitoring of utmost- degree before it is embraced more liberally in companies.