Snooze You Win
Imagine being able to put down your tools and take a nap as part of your regular work duties
A growing number of companies in Japan are working to counter an epidemic of sleeplessness that costs the country’s economy an estimated $183 billion CDN per year. A survey conducted in 28 countries found that Japanese men and women are among the most sleep-deprived people in the world. While the average for the country is around 7.5 hours of sleep per night, that drops to less than 6.5 hours for adults working full time.
Nextbeat, a Tokyo-based IT service provider, is now asking its employees to leave work by 9:00 p.m. to avoid doing too much overtime, which has been blamed on a rising incidence of karoshi—death from overwork. It has also set up two sleeping rooms (one for men, one for women) at its headquarters in Tokyo, where tired workers can grab a quick nap.
The rooms feature comfortable sofas and are sound-proofed and aroma-infused. Electronic devices are not allowed.
Across Japan, many employers embrace inemuri—sleeping while present—as a demonstration of their employees’ commitment rather than as a sign of sloth. And the Japanese health ministry now recommends that all workers take a nap of up to 30 minutes in the early afternoon.
10 Fascinating Facts about Sleep
1. Babies steal 1,055 hours from their parents. – New parents lose an average of 44 days of sleep per year because of their newborns’ sleep patterns.
2. Humans can sleep with their eyes open. – Nocturnal lagophthalmos—the inability to close the eyes while asleep—is usually due to a problem with muscles in the eyelids.
3. Altitude disrupts sleep. – Due to lower amounts of oxygen, at altitudes above 13,200 feet, it’s much harder to get your snooze on.
4. Some people dream in black and white. – Studies show 12 percent of people dream in black and white. Surprisingly, this number was 75 percent before the dawn of colour TV.
5. Humans are the only mammal that can delay sleep. – Dogs, cows, and even sheep must go to sleep when their body tells them to. Only we have the ability to push through exhaustion.
6. Eleven days is the record for the longest period without sleep. – In 1964, Randy Gardner, a high school student in San Diego, stayed awake for 264.4 hours.
7. The deaf sign in their sleep. – Just like talking in your sleep, the hearing impaired communicate via sign language while sleeping.
8. You can’t sneeze while sleeping. – Certain neurotransmitters shut down during sleep preventing sneezing.
9. The strangers in your dreams, aren’t strangers. – You might not know them, but you’ve seen everyone in your dreams before. The brain can’t create people, so it uses registered faces.
10. You grow 0.3 inches while sleeping. – You go back to normal after you get up, when your cartilage discs are squeezed by gravity.
Sources: restonic.com, scienceillustrated.com.au