NJ Company Encourages Workplace Naps

Nodding off at work may be frowned upon in most places, but a New Jersey firm is accommodating power naps for its employees in hopes of boosting productivity.

At Nationwide Planning Associates, a small financial services firm in Paramus, employees James Colleary and Michael Karalewich approached upper management about a year ago to facilitate power naps as a way to improve morale. A storage closet was re-purposed to become a nap room, with a recliner, a dimmer lamp, and a small waterfall fixture set up inside.

Employees sign up once a year for the chance to snooze twice a week at a specific time. The system is set up like a health flex account, according to Karalewich, and staff members may swap nap days and times.

Colleary said he had a hard time falling asleep in the beginning, but "within a few weeks, I was able to fall asleep within seconds," he said.

Colleary says he never oversleeps, and while he sets up an alarm, he almost always wakes up one minute before the alarm goes off. 

Studies have shown that napping can increase learning, memory and mood, and that just 20 minutes of napping can do more good than coffee or more sleep at night.

While Nationwide Planning Associates hasn't been able to quantify benefits of the short naps, Karalewich said the initiative has been eye-opening.

"It has made a positive difference in job performance," said Karalewich. "When people are happier, they tend to work better." 

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