The rejuvenating power of naps has been known about for some time, with various studies showing that even a short nap can increase alertness. While a nap of around two hours is of most benefit as it encompasses all stages of sleep, a power nap of up to 30 minutes is certainly better than nothing. It's not long enough for you to enter deep sleep (and consequently risk feeling worse than before), but it's long enough to take the edge off your need to actually go to bed. Whether such evidence would ever be enough to persuade a company to provide designated areas for workers to sleep is unclear, but CalmSpace exists for that very purpose.
CalmSpace was designed by Marie-Virginie Berbet, originally as a prototype for France Telecom, but is now a finished product for office furniture brand Haworth. It's a self-contained, plug-and-play sleep capsule optimized to create the perfect environment for tired office workers to catch some shuteye. CalmSpace was launched at the Orgatec 2012 trade fair held recently in Cologne.
Each CalmSpace capsule contains a single mattress on which the office worker is invited to lie down. A combination of light and sound is designed to send the person ensconced within CalmSpace off to sleep, before waking them up gently after an allotted time. The sequences are pre-set for 10-, 15-, and 20-minute naps. The orange light is designed to help people drop off to sleep, while the blue light wakes them up in as natural a way as possible in such unnatural surroundings.
As well as preventing people falling asleep at their desks or burning out, power naps boast some other alleged health benefits. They can reduce stress and raise brain power and productivity levels. While many forward-thinking companies are providing areas for employees to collectively relax and take time out, very few are providing environments for individuals to actually get some sleep in.
CalmSpace sits comfortably alongside the Sleepbox and Podtime sleeping pods already featured on Gizmag. And if the company you work for won't shell out the money needed to buy one of these units, there's always the Ostrich pillow to fall back on.