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Companies add nap rooms to perk up workers, boost productivity

A friend of mine used to regularly schedule a fake hour-long meeting and, instead, crawl under his desk, pull in his chair and take a siesta at work. He reasoned that his long work hours validated his afternoon naps.

Now it seems he may have been on to something - and some businesses have begun to realize that Americans are sleep deprived. In response, several companies have added designated areas for napping on the clock, reports Business Week:

With Americans averaging fewer than seven hours of sleep per night--and around 20 percent suffering from sleepiness during the day, according to a recent Stanford University study--many companies have turned to the humble nap in an attempt to stave off billions in lost productivity each year. Following the rise of workplace perks like lactation rooms, gyms, and child-care facilities, Nike (NKE) workers now have access to nap-friendly "quiet rooms" that can also be used for meditation. Google (GOOG), a forerunner in employee perks, has a number of futuristic napping pods scattered throughout its Mountain View (Calif.) campus...

...Other companies have opted to outsource their daytime sleeping solutions. Yelo, a napping spa in midtown Manhattan, has provided its services to Hearst, Newsweek, and Time Warner (TWX). It offers naps in a "cocoon-like" treatment room in which clients can adjust aromatherapy, sound, and lighting.

Recent research has shown that a post-lunch snooze can boost the brain's learning capacity. Now that some school districts have pushed back bells for the sake of teens' sleep, perhaps it's time for more companies can reinstate naptime for adults.

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