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4 Companies That Value Sleep

A study conducted by Swan Medical shows that over 50% of employees in the United States experience poor or insufficient sleep. “So?”, you may ask, “don’t we all pull all-nighters? And why should companies care? It’s not like these employees are falling asleep at work”. Actually, they kind of are. According to the Swan Medical study, these sleep disorders are costing US companies $63.2 BILLION per year!

Luckily, these numbers are slowly getting noticed by companies that want to make the most out of their employees’ time.

Here is a list of 4 companies that dream big:

1. Aetna – This health care company clearly takes its job seriously. Leading by example, they are showing to the public how important sleep is to their health through an exceptional idea: paying their employees to get more sleep! That’s right, Aetna pays their employees just over a dollar for every night they get more than 7 hours of sleep. In an interview to CNBC, Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini said that he believed that “being present in the workplace and making better decisions has a lot to do with our business fundamentals”, and added that “you can’t be prepared if you’re half asleep”. So, in order to encourage their employees to sleep more, they decided to pay them. Bad business? Not at all, if you ask Bertolini. He says that following the implementation of this wellness program, he’s witnessed “69 minutes more a month of [worker] productivity”. This, he is sure, is “going to show up in our revenue”.

2. Google – As if working for Google isn’t cool enough, they also let you nap (for real, google it)! Google has created the “Energy-pods”, which look like a slick and futuristic capsule meant for napping. It is meant to allow employees to nap in the middle of the day without interference, and set timers for themselves to be woken-up by pleasant lights and vibrations.

Athena Dogias takes a nap in a sleep pod in a central business district office building in Sydney, Tuesday, May 16, 2006. Busy workers are invited to put their feet up for 20 minutes to rejuvenate and relax in style while listening to music in the dome-shaped pod. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Futuristic sleep. Google’s “Energy-pods”.

3. Huffington Post- Considering Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington wrote a book about the modern problem of not getting enough sleep, no wonder this sleep guru wants to encourage her employees to be aware of their health and take a nap every once in a while. She has implemented nap rooms at the headquarters of the media company in New York and has armed them with Google’s “Energy-pods”! In an interview to NBC she reinforced her stance on napping, saying that “having a nap in the middle of the afternoon is actually a performance-enhancing tool!”

4. Ben & Jerry’s – The successful ice cream company gives us another reason to love them! They have also been fans of the nap rooms, implementing the idea over a decade ago. A spokeswoman from Ben & Jerry’s told the BBC that “the room itself is really part of the larger corporate culture here and company’s belief that a happy employee is a productive employee”. This only proves that those who know ice cream know what the people really need.

We can only hope that more companies around the world adjust to the new reality of lack-of-sleep and encourage their employees to get more of it, since it seems quite clear that people who sleep better, work better.

Liat is a SleepRate community manager and customer advocate.
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