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With sleep deprivation a growing problem in Japan, companies introduce Power Nap Project

13 Comments
By cinnamonellie, grape Japan

I think many of us have had times when we just couldn’t keep our eyes open and have fallen asleep “on duty”.

It also happened to me many times while I was taking my lunch break. I can’t even count how many times I dozed off and bumped my head on something. Sometimes, when I was too tired, I’d even go to the washroom and wash my face a little, so I could wake up and concentrate on my tasks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After lunch, it usually gets worse and I get even more sleepy and my efficiency lowers too because I am unable to focus.

Working while not focusing also means less productivity. And working so many hours like the Japanese tend to do... Well, sometimes that might not be the best way to go for it. Quantity doesn’t always mean quality.

It has been proven in Japan, too, that by decreasing working hours and adopting different methods not only increases productivity but also creates a better working environment, making both employees and the company happy. Killing two birds with one stone, I’d say.

Companies in Japan have found another method to keep their employees focused and enable them to communicate more effectively with each other: introducing power naps.

What are power naps?

The power nap is a short sleep that lasts between 15-20 minutes and clears your mind, charges you so you can concentrate on your duties afterward. I tried it a few times, so I can say it works (that is if you manage to wake up within that time). It made me feel refreshed and more focused every time I tried napping for 20 minutes or so.

The Power Nap Project

Studies show that Japan has little awareness when it comes to sleep, therefore many people end up being sleep-deprived and unable to do their work properly. To change this situation and make citizens more aware, the Power Nap Project was formed. Companies have already started introducing this concept in the office.

For example, participating companies are now distributing hoodie blankets and are supporting the idea of taking naps while in the office.

Creating an environment suitable to take naps at work is one of their aims. By doing so, they also encourage coworkers to talk to each other. Some of the companies take turns and have their coworkers wake them.

Many employees who are part of the project affirmed that by doing so, they feel refreshed and started talking more with their coworkers. Their teamwork improved, too.

It is estimated that in a few years, naps included in the work schedule will become mandatory in Japanese companies and that it will lead to more benefits on both sides. The project has already started, so I guess we’ll need to wait and see what the future will bring us.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll go and take a nap. Maybe when I wake up, the laws will have already changed. Who knows? For now, oyasumi and sweet dreams to you all.

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© grape Japan

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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Hey, I have an idea. Do what I do, finish work no later than 7pm, go home (not to a pub) have a healthy dinner, (not convenience store meals) Chill for a while and go to sleep before 11pm (not be glued to your smart device until 2am). In addition, some exercise wouldn't hurt. I do it and am never sleepy at work. And I am awake by 5:30 every morning, EVERY morning and haven't used an alarm clock for over 10 years.

Work to Live Not Live to Work

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It is estimated that in a few years, naps included in the work schedule will become mandatory in Japanese companies 

Whose estimate?

Let's look back in 2023 and see how many of us are contractually mandated to sleep as during working hours.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Do what I do

Sounds fantastic. Apart from the lack of pub action.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ah! Life in the nanny state. Cool Biz. Warm Biz. Nap time. What next? Not work/life balance, that's for sure.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

since1981:

Good for you. Doesn't work for everyone. To have a sleep problem and be told that all we have to do to fix it is chill out and exercise is over-simplifying it, to say the least. Chronic sleep deprivation has a number of causes, and for most of us (yes, I'm one) your "cure" is completely useless.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mexico is known for their afternoon siestas at the workplace. It seems to rejuvenate them and do some good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@starpunk

Most Spanish and Latin cultures take siestas. But siestas are really long breaks.

An example, lunch breaks in Spain are 3 hours. Sometimes more. That is to eat and have your siesta.

Japanese companies are simply trying to avoid dealing with the unnecessary long hours.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I telework I sleep in an extra 30 minutes because no need to commute. That is the answer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well I work from home so can take a power nap whenever I like, mandated or not. Bought a cosy recliner last year, perfect for a siesta.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I worked physically demanding jobs overnight ever since 1970. For 41 years, it was same company I retired from. Uninterrupted sleep during the daytime is simply unrealistic in the city. [Why is my neighbor mowing the lawn at the ungodly hour of two in the afternoon???] Starting the work day somewhat fatigued was compounded by the load I could not imagine getting through.

I discovered that napping during my unpaid lunch when I ordinarily take a break after 2 hours gave me more energy than I came to work with and significantly improved my confidence to work through the tasks. Since the lunch was unpaid, returning to work beyond the 30 minutes allotted was not a problem. (It would have been a problem if my lunch delayed the work of others.)

tl:dr, Naptime = yes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Work to Live Not Live to Work

My motto too.

Bought a cosy recliner last year, perfect for a siesta.

Sounds perfect.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is estimated that in a few years, naps included in the work schedule will become mandatory in Japanese companies and that it will lead to more benefits on both sides.

Most people already sleep during their lunch break if they need to. Don't see why it needs to be "included in the work schedule".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most people already sleep during their lunch break if they need to. Don't see why it needs to be "included in the work schedule".

Because people need to eat too. It's not a one or the other thing.

Of course companies don't need to include this, but they will get more productive employees if they do. I've always given my staff permission to take a nap on the sofa in the break room if they need one, and I do the same. Sleepy people don't work well and make mistakes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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