Power naps – those short periods of sleep during the day – have been known to boost brain activity and increase productivity at the work place. Now a sleeping cafe in Tokyo’s Akasaka business district is offering hard-working Japanese women the chance to enjoy the benefits of the power nap, for a fee.
Stress and fatigue at the office are real issues in Japan, but for the women workaholics of the Asakara business district, in Tokyo there is a place where they can go relax and restore their energy – the Quska Sleeping Cafe. This ingenious concept offers patrons the chance to get a quick shut-eye either during their lunch breaks or in between their constant hours of overtime. It charges ¥150 ($1.60) for ten minutes of sleep in their comfortable facilities, but have even more affordable rates for clients looking to buy four-hour slots (¥3,120, around $33) or more. Now, you may think 10 minutes makes no difference if you’re ready to drop to the floor from fatigue, but various studies have shown that brief naps (10 -15 minutes) improve a person’s alertness and overall performance without the negative effects of sleep inertia associated with longer sleeping periods. Japanese companies are well-known for their productivity, and one of the reasons for this may be the power nap. For years, they’ve actually been encouraging their employees to take naps during work hours, and sleeping cafes like Quska provide the perfect environment.
Unlike other sleeping salons in Tokyo, Quska caters to women only, using aromatherapy to increase the relaxing effects of the power naps, and boasting specially designed spaces with cosmetic supplies, where business women can freshen up before heading back to the office. According to the cafe’s official website, a power nap in their facilities can raise efficiency by up to 20%. To make sure they don’t oversleep, Quska staff give nappers a wake-up call through special earphones provided on arrival.
Power naps have been part of Japanese work culture for many years, and during that time they got the process down to a science. Japanese researchers have conducted several studies, and even came up with the unorthodox practice of drinking coffee before a nap, to prevent people from going into a deep sleep and awake feeling even more tired. The effects of caffeine take about 20 minutes to kick-in, so they act as a natural wake-up call for the napper. It’s a good way to increase productivity, but as William at Japan Trends notes, it does “little to improve the Japanese working culture, the insane beast that gave birth to a new word, karoshi (death by overwork).”
Power nap cafes and salons are definitely not the weirdest sleeping venues in Japan. Just a few months back we covered the Soineya Cuddling Cafe, which offers patrons the chance to nap in the arms of a young girl, for $80 an hour.