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Editorial: Sleeping on the job

… has been happening since the invention of work and has been viewed by management as unacceptable since the invention of management. But now it seems that a growing number of companies are recognizing that napping is increasingly a fact of life in the American workplace.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported recently that with studies showing that Americans are working more and sleeping less, companies are turning to “the humble nap in an attempt to stave off billions in lost productivity each year.”

Some businesses are providing quiet rooms for meditation and napping. Google, which lives on the cutting edge in employee benefits as well as technology, has populated its Mountain View, Calif., campus with napping pods.

Other firms are outsourcing the napping function and in the true capitalist spirit, businesses are sprouting to meet that need. Yelo, a napping spa in midtown Manhattan, offers a 20-minute nap for $15. A half-hour snooze with a foot rub costs $40.

As nice as these perks are, they mask a societal problem that can’t be solved with a power nap. While an occasional daytime snooze can be refreshing and even reduce stress, experts agree it is no substitute for adequate, regular rest. With ever longer working hours and longer commutes, more and more Americans are falling short of that goal. The long-term implications of that should cause sleeplessness for us all.

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