How to Design a Nap Room

How to Design a Nap Room

Sleeping on the job requires spaces with less noise, more comfort. Discover interior ideas that help you sleep, even in the middle of daytime’s stress

Nap rooms are everywhere; if you're lucky, they might even be in your workplace. These specially-designed rooms are created solely for your short midday naps, meant to help you recuperate from the morning's stress and get you going in the afternoon. Sleep, now becoming modern revolution in the workplace, has lost its taboo image and is now seen for what it is: an essential factor that contributes greatly to one’s health.

A survey from the National Sleep Foundation reflected the world's current sleeping-score: in the UK, the average adult just gets 6 hours and 49 minutes of sleep. In Japan, it's much less: 6 hours and 22 minutes.

Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, alludes to this as a “global sleep-loss epidemic” spurned by demanding work schedules and long commute hours. The result: insufficient sleep. This has impacted productivity; in fact, developed nations lose 2% of their GDP because of this. There's a good reason why companies are shifting their focus from hustling to taking a break.

Designing sleep spaces

Google's now-famous napping environment heads the list of sleeping spaces, but not everyone can buy a thousand-dollar futuristic pod. In most cases, these rooms are modest, requiring only a bed and minimal lighting, and that's it. Sleep, after all, only needs a quiet (and safe) sanctuary to be in. For example, Vancouver Airport's premium lounges are nap chambers that resemble mini-hotel rooms. If you want to steal a Zzz, find these rooms located near showers.

German architect Jürgen Mayer H took nap rooms a notch further. In his rendition of a sleep space, he created a pink room with glowing amber lights and ambient noise, hoping to explore a person's nomadic sleeping patterns. Called the Nap Gap, the room was installed in Istanbul Design Biennial, where guests were invited to “sleep around” the plush-covered room.

Casper, a start-up company producing mattresses, created a dreamy napping spaced called The Dreamery, where visitors can lounge inside a small, round nooks, complete with a bed, a pillow and a sleep mask. The archway leading to these "rooms" are made with dark blue colours and small track lights, resembling the starry-lit night sky.

But nap rooms don’t always have to be rooms. Take for example London's Sleeperie, first appearing on London Festival of Architecture back in 2015. Architecture firms Hassel and Draisci joined hands to create an interactive exhibit that aims to explore artistic spaces that can be used for short-term sleep. In Hypnos, the two firms encourage visitors to switch off their gadgets and climb onto the red hammocks for a daytime nap. Rows of these sleeping slings look like drapes on a wooden framework. The acoustically-insulated room plays soothing music; the lights are dim, and all you need is a sleep mask to enjoy the moment.

Co-working spaces – open-space plans reserved for freelancers and collaborators – are now adding nap rooms to their members’ benefits. CIC Rotterdam has an opulently furnished nap room with a solitary bed, sink, and bamboo-decorated walls to give one an organic atmosphere. The Farm in Soho, Manhattan, gives its members access to hammocks that let them fall asleep even as they work.

How do you design your workplace nap room?

Nap rooms have three essentials: a comfortable place to lie in, dim lights, and less audible noise. Here are some notes to remember:

  • Pick a quiet corner away from the regular foot traffic
  • Your nap room should be enough to fit a bed (or two). If your workspace covers a large expanse, you can create a lounge room that can fit more people
  • If using a chair, make sure that it allows the person to rest their back and recline properly
  • Avoid using task lights in your nap room. Instead, switch to dim, ambient lights that will allow them to sleep at once. At best, arm the staff with sleep mask to block out the lights as they lay down
  • Make innovative use of your space. Instead of beds, use hammocks and alternate them with soft cushions and ottomans for others to lounge in
  • If your company has many employees, consider installing cubicles or setting up sleep modules that allow more people to sleep at the same time
  • Don’t forget to lay out the terms in using the nap rooms; post the rules inside the rooms and advice your employees to leave the space clean and tidy after their use

Nap rooms don’t require a lot, but the return is worth the investment. Sleep improves the health of your employees, and overall, your company’s. Make sleep a priority; use these tips as a guide to create your own napping space.

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Jonas Diezun

Jonas is Co-Founder at RADICE. He is an avid reader, soccer player and loves hiking in the Munich mountains. He usually writes about productivity, sleep and the science behind both. He studied at in Munich and New York, and worked in Startups. His best advice for sleep? Have a fixed routine and see sleep & recreation as the most important pillar for your health. It determines everything.
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