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EMAILED ON January 9, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Overtired workers cost Japan $138B, and businesses are desperate to encourage naps

In a world full of night owls and overachievers, Japanese employees are the most sleep deprived of all, according to research reported by The Guardian.

This doesn’t just make Japanese employees cranky, it also makes them unproductive, allegedly costing the economy $138B per year. Now, to keep workers chipper, businesses are practically begging workers to hit the hay.

Sleeping on the job

On average, Japanese workers get 6 hours and 35 minutes of sleep per night (and executives even less), making Japan the most sleep deprived country in the world.

But, just because workers don’t sleep in bed doesn’t mean they don’t sleep elsewhere: Many Japanese proudly practice ‘inemuri’ — the act of ‘sleeping while present’ in meetings or presentations, sometimes while standing up.

So, since workers won’t go to bed on their own (92.6% of Japanese adults acknowledge they don’t get enough sleep), desperate employers are starting to mandate nap time. 

Rise of the ‘nap economy’

Many Japanese companies discourage overtime and insist their employees leave by 9 pm to ensure they get enough sleep.

Some companies are also building ‘strategic nap rooms,’ complete with aromatherapy machines and noise blockers, to reduce in-meeting naps.

Another Japanese company called Crazy created a sleep-monitoring app that rewards employees up to $580 per year for getting more than 6 hours of sleep per night (which, for the record, is still 1 hour less than recommended).

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