Worked late last night? For less than the price of a Starbucks nonfat grande latte, you can buy another way to recharge, thanks to MetroNaps, a start-up based in New York City that is banking on naps becoming as much a part of the workday as coffee breaks.
Co-founded by Arshad Chowdhury and Christopher Lindholst, MetroNaps is about to open its first "midday rest facility" with eight pods in the Empire State Building. Future locations include San Francisco and Chicago. Members visit the facility as they would a gym or spa. They can call or make online reservations for a patent-pending "MetroPod," a chaise longue with cockpit-style privacy visor. The pods, designed by architect Matthew Hoey and made by an Indianapolis F-1 racecar plant, are outfitted with clean, hypoallergenic linens and noise-deadening headphones. Snoozers choose from an audio menu (including ambient sounds or personal MP3s) and wake to simulated sunlight, gentle vibrations, and a shot of caffeinated vitamin water.
CEO Chowdhury says a few progressive employers have already offered to subsidize the $65 monthly membership fee. Nonmembers pay up to $18 for a half-hour session (sleep scientists say 20-minute naps are ideal in order to wake refreshed, not groggy). The company also plans to lease pods for use during particularly tough, round-the-clock workweeks.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults sleep an average of 6.7 hours a night; the recommended amount is seven to nine hours. Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, a weakened immune system, and difficulty solving problems--all of which can hurt productivity.
Maybe that's why entrepreneurs, who seem wired to handle a grueling schedule, can still envision a siesta culture. "Burnouts only hurt your bottom line," says New Orleans-based Wearable Vegetables CEO Gay Sperling. After her company's T-shirts, emblazoned with the phrase "Shiitake happens," appeared on an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, her team clocked 16-hour days to fill orders that came flooding in. An assistant caught Sperling napping in her chair. "That's just me," Sperling says. "But anything employees need to refresh themselves would be a good investment."