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Getting their Zs: Nap rooms trend growing across the country

By Samantha Smith

With new technology quickly sweeping the nation, and updates to tech gadgets arriving at lightning fast speeds, it makes a person wonder when they can plan time for sleep.

Americans, with their on the go lifestyle, can find it hard to get in the recommended eight hours each night.

But for some companies, the idea of a nap room could be a solution to help employees fight workplace fatigue. 

An article in TODAY in March 2013 highlighted companies like the Huffington Post and Nationwide Planning Associates for pioneering the nap room movement in the country. The companies, according to the report, claimed that they did so in hopes of making their workforce more productive. 

Some companies have installed nap rooms that are equipped with actual beds, blankets, and pillows, as well as keeping the room dark and quiet.

According to the article, other companies have opted to purchase Energy Pods made by a company called Metro Naps, a special designed chair where employees can catch a power nap on the job.

Energy Pods are used in four different continents and 20 countries around the world. 

The Huffington Post New York office currently has two nap rooms with plans to add a third for its growing staff.

A November 2014 Huffington Post article identified results of a July 2014 study by Sleep Review that said nap pod use was on the rise.

While nap rooms are on the rise in larger cities, such as New York, they are slowly catching on in Central Texas. 

Neal Kelly, the Chief Operating Officer at Seton Medical Center Hays, said in an emailed response that the hospital does have call rooms or sleep rooms throughout the facility for that purpose. 

He said the rooms were built to accommodate those physicians who must remain on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“We also have several tranquility rooms for staff,” Kelly wrote in his response. “These are quiet places where a staff member can take a break and re-group or close their eyes for a few minutes of silence.”

The trend isn’t limited to high-powered corporations like Google and Proctor & Gamble or the medical field. 

Texas State University has bought into the idea that sleep revives people and stimulates productivity. 

The university in 1998 built a sleep lounge, now called Boko’s Lounge, in the LBJ Student Center for students to sleep in-between classes. 

Jack Rahmann, Director of the Student Center at Texas State University, said Boko’s Lounge is different than other student lounges. 

Rahmann said the lounge is located in the basement of the student center where it’s always kept dark. He said it has overstuffed furniture and students are given pillows and blankets when they arrive.

The lounge can fit 30 people at a time and is open during the same hours as the student center. 

According to Rahmann, 24,000 people visit the LBJ student center per week, and a “good percentage” utilize the nap room. During finals week, when Rahmann said students don’t get enough sleep, the lounge helps them catch up on sleep. 

While the lounge, which was designed specifically for students, has been around for 18 years, Rahmann said faculty and staff are welcome to use it as well. 

“I’m interested in doing a lounge for faculty and staff at a higher level someday,” said Rahmann.

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