The Sleep Council Asleep-at-work-300x199 Sleeping On The Job  What would your boss say if you asked to have a mid-day nap? Would they look at you in horror or provide you with a pillow and send you on your way to the land of nod?

Well in the US, they are doing just that. Sending you to sleep. ‘Nap rooms’ are becoming the latest phenomenon over the pond with some of the biggest names in business – Google, Nike and The Huffington Post – taking a keen interest in their workers’ sleeping patterns. I mean everyone knows a well-rested employee is a more productive employee, don’t they?

We’re all well aware of the importance of exercise and a healthy diet and it’s not unusual to find large companies investing in gyms or offering to pay for or subsidise gym memberships. But it seems that sleep is slowly moving up the agenda – thankfully – and employers are realising that a good night’s sleep is crucial.

Lack of sleep diminishes levels of concentration and makes you liable to swings in temper and depression. Sleep affects our learning and problem solving capabilities. The more REM sleep we have, the easier it is to retain things that were learned the day before. Problems that appear insoluble can become clear in the morning.

A recent study (2012) by researchers at the City University of New York found that how much time people spent asleep determined how well he or she performed on tasks. Those who reached deeper stages of sleep showed a better command of flexible thinking – a vital cognitive skill that allows us to apply old facts and information to new situations.

But is it up to an employer to make sure its employees are well-rested or should individuals be taking the responsibility for their own sleep? Personally I think it’s up to the individual to make sure they have a good night’s kip. Surely, if you regularly need a daytime nap then you’re not getting the amount of sleep you need – and you have to ask yourselves why. Is it too much TV? Too much socialising? Too much Facebooking/Tweeting?

What do you think? Is it up to your employer or you to make sure you’ve got enough sleep? Do you think nap rooms will catch on in the UK? And if they did, would you use one?

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