Tuesday 19 June 2018

'Workers deserve 15-minute nap after lunch' to improve efficiency - according to study

Photo: stock
Photo: stock

Henry Samuel, Paris

A new study has revealed that French workers "deserve a 15-minute nap after lunch" - do Irish workers need the same?

Coupled with the French 35-hour working week a midday nap would arguably leave little time for any work.

But a top Gallic think tank has said French businesses should encourage staff to take a 15-20 minute post-lunch snooze, insisting that it boosts productivity.

A study released by Left-wing  think tank Terra Nova found that 20 per cent of the nation's workers nod off in front of their computer anyway, usually after the midday meal. 

Napping is a physiological need that should be recognised by businesses and is in their best interests, as sleep is directly linked to lower productivity and absenteeism at work, according to the seven experts who compiled the report.

Dr Jean-Pierre Giordanella, the co-author of the Terra Nova report, called "Catching up on sleep, a public affair", told Europe1 that bosses should invest in dedicated napping rooms in their offices.

“All that’s needed is a calm room where you can turn off the strip lighting and come out refreshed,” he said. “We realised that this simple practice improves work efficiency and reduces absenteeism.” 

If sleep is not possible, the lack of noise and lighting will still do a power of good, he said.

For bosses concerned this might shorten their employees' working day, the study suggests factoring a 15-minute nap into the timetable, meaning staff "leave work 15 minutes later".

The study urges employers to train human resources managers on the benefits of a quick nap so they don't see it as a "laziness perk" or a "reward for idlers" but as a "way of better dividing up the day into phases of activity and rest".

But it is not just staff who should visit the land of nod at work, the report goes on. Bosses of small and medium-sized businesses sleep considerably less than others - around 6.5 hours per night.

This "sleep debt" makes them less creative, more irritable and has a "negative effect on their ability to anticipate", the study notes.

The French have notorious issues with sleep with 11 million regularly taking sleeping pills - the second highest amount in Europe after Portugal.

"This is artificial sleep that is costing society dear and doesn't resolve the sleep issue," said Dr Giordanella.

According to the report, good sleeping habits, including afternoon naps, should be instilled at a young age and the practice extended from elementary school to older students and adults.

“In many countries or big cities, the cost associated with sleep troubles can be counted in the billions of euros,” the study notes.

Drowsiness is among the prime culprits in accidents in the workplace or on the road, but lack off sleep also compounds social inequalities, and sanitary risks, the study found.

"Everyone is explicitly or tacitly invited to turn sleep into a variable," it warned. "The politics of insomnia must end!"


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