- Why sleeping during work is beneficial for both employees and employers
It seems common sense that a good night rest is important. However, sleep (still) gets little attention in our society – let alone that taking powernaps at work is beging encouraged. Dr. Alexander van Eekelen is consultant in the field of sleep and explains everything about the importance of taking some rest and where our sleeping culture is heading. “The sleep revolution is starting now.”
A good foundation
Our need for sleep is basal and even one of the first necessities in life. Still, a lot of people experience sleeping problems, which for instance causes them to be sleepy at work. But tired or not, we don’t easily give in to our need for sleep. “That has to do with our Calvinistical mentality,” says Alexander. “In our Western society, we still associate sleep with laziness. Although big companies like Google, Facebook and Uber have powernap rooms nowadays, in most work environments this is something that people save their money on.” And don’t forget that we almost consider it an achievement to sleep as little as possible. “You can see this mindset for instance at doctors that take 24 hour shifts. Sleeping is the opposite of commitment and drive. Sleeping is inactivity.”
Research shows that during your sleep, your brain plays a sort of programme, that alternates between deep sleep, light sleep and REM sleep. Alexander: “During these different stadia, your body is recovering and acquiring new energy.” In the first couple hours of sleep, your muscle tissue and DNA material is being repaired and new cells are made. “That is where the term ‘beauty sleep’ comes from: if you sleep enough, you look fresher and better.” It takes about 7 to 8 hours for the full programme to be completed. “If you don’t give your body enough time for this, you get the same effect as when you empty your washing machine before is it finished: your clothes are not completely clean and soaking wet. Not the result you were looking for.”
If the sleep deficiency gets structural, your physical and mental health gets influenced negatively. “Your body recovers not as fast as before. You get more emotional, grumpy, irritable.” Next to this, your hormones get confused. There will be an inbalance between the hormones leptin and ghrelin, that tell you when you are saturated and hungry. “Your body thinks you have an energy shortfall and therefore wants to eat more. Thus, you can actually get slim while sleeping,” says Alexander laughing.
For the longer-term, the consequences of sleep deprivation are much more serious. “The risk for diseases is getting bigger, because your immune system is less strong. Physical complaints, depressions, burn-outs; it can all be linked to a shortage of sleep.” Eventually this will lead to absenteeism, which is inconvenient for both yourself and your employer, as absenteeism costs a lot of money. “But also being present while not performing optimally due to too little sleep, costs your employer a lot. This is called presenteeism and it is even a bigger problem,” explains Alexander. “The estimated costs are up to six times higher than costs of absenteeism.”
One piece of furniture, three solutions
Thus, it is for employers well worth the money to invest in ways to relax during work. Alexander: “You can see the sleep revolution is starting now. More and more offices have furniture that allow employees to get the most out of their moment of relaxation, like the Loungescape Powernap. This piece of furniture is very convenient, as it is suitable for both sleepy and tired people.” But what is the difference? “You are sleepy because you have sleep deprivation: you have been tossing and turning during the night or maybe you are jetlagged. Tiredness has to do with physical or mental exertion, like hard work of sports.”
The three programmes make the Loungescape Powernap suitable for many different target groups. With the corresponding app, you control the Whole-Body-Vibration matrass – powered by Neurosonic – that vibrates pleasantly on different parts of your body. “The programme ‘Powernap’ is ideal when you cannot perform well and need a boost in your productivity. The vibrations make sure you get active and alert within 12 or 24 minutes.” Do you have weary muscles because you have to deal with stressful situations at work of because you have been working out? Then the programme ‘Relaxtion’ (10, 20, 25 or 39 minutes) is ideal. It lets you relax and reduces stress considerably. “Next to this, the furniture is practical when you have an irregular day and night rhythm, for instance because you are working in shifts or travel a lot for your work. The programme ‘Recovery’ lasts a bit longer with 37 to 41 minutes, but gives you enough energy to be able to continue your tasks fit and alert.”
But what if you cannot fall asleep in such a short time? “That is not absolutely necessary,” explains Alexander. “By simply lying down, your body can also relax enough, especially if you use ‘Relaxation’. But if you are really tired and use the programma ‘Powernap’, you will fall asleep 8 out of 10 times.” Otherwise, you could also train yourself. “If you lie down every day at the same time, your body gets used to that moment of relaxation. If you keep on doing this for a longer period of time, at one point you might even fall asleep. Napping can be learned.”
Curious about the Ahrend Loungescape Powernap and how it can help you? Check out this page for more information and contact us to try the furniture for yourself!
Want to know more about sleep in combination with irregular work? Read here what Alexander and his team can mean for you.
Ahrend Loungescape Powernap: design by Basten Leijh.
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