The Power of Napping (cont.)

"We recently expanded to the Vancouver airport, and offer travelers the opportunity to take naps while they wait for their flights," says Chowdhury.

With a monthly membership fee of $65 in New York City, and an hourly cost of $15 at the Vancouver airport, MetroNaps is already taking orders for more pods.

"We are currently taking orders for pod rentals for $250-$300 a month, depending on how many pods an institution or corporation wants to rent," says Chowdhury. "An individual pod can also be purchased for $7,950."

If you are in the vicinity of the Empire State Building, and want a nap, planning ahead is important. "By midweek we are definitely full," Chowdhury says, "so we recommend that people make appointments in advance."

Napping Sans Pod

While the rest of the world waits tirelessly for sleep pods to be installed on every street corner, crawling under the desk will have to do. But how do you explain that to the boss?

"Many people don't nap because they say they would be fired, and understandably, it's a tough sell," says Camille Anthony, co-author of The Art of Napping at Work. "But if an employer wants a productive workforce, employees need the tools to be productive, and that includes napping."

So the trick if you're not getting enough sleep at night, explains Anthony, is obvious: Don't sleep on the job.

"You don't need to nap during your work hours -- if you get a lunch break or an afternoon break, nap then," says Anthony.

Be efficient about it, too, so you can make the most of your nap time. Here are some tips that that will help maximize the benefits of the power nap:

Bring comfort to work. Anthony suggests bringing a mat to work instead of sleeping on the floor, and maybe a blanket and pillow.

Find a comfort zone. "Figure out how to have an effective nap, so find a comfort zone," says Anthony. "Do you need a blanket, your feet up, or your glasses off? Find your comfort zone and use that to help you nap well."

Use tricks. "Use what we call napnomic devices to help yourself fall asleep," says Anthony. "Use a radio, white noise, eye shades, temperature -- whatever you need to help you fall asleep."

Keep it short. "Keep your nap to about 10-20 minutes," says Anthony. "Over 30 is too much because then you are getting into the deeper levels of sleep."

Be creative about where you nap. "If your office doesn't have an employee lounge that you can nap in, find a quiet spot to curl up in -- other than the bathroom or your car, which are not very nap friendly," says Anthony.

Set your alarm. If you want to make sure your boss isn't ticked off about you catching some shut-eye on the job, and to help avoid slipping into a deep sleep, set your watch alarm, or have someone call you so you wake up on time and can get back to work, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Get your sleep at night, like nature intended. "The important thing to remember about napping is that if you get sufficient sleep at night, you don't need to nap when you're meant to be awake, whether it's in a pod or elsewhere," says Marcia Stein, spokeswoman for the National Sleep Foundation. "If you feel sleepiness when you've had enough sleep, that may be a signal that something is wrong and you should see a doctor."

Published Jan. 10, 2005.

SOURCES: Camille Anthony, M.Ed, co-author, The Art of Napping at Work (co-authored with William Anthony, PhD), Reading, Mass. Arshad Chowdhury, co-founder, MetroNaps, New York City. James Maas, author, Power Sleep; and professor of psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Marcia Stein, spokeswoman, National Sleep Foundation, Washington. Frisca Yan-Go, MD, medical director, UCLA Sleep Disorder Center at Santa Monica Hospital, Calif.

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