MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Most people don’t get enough restful sleep at night which can lead to poor performance at work the following day.

In fact, studies have shown out nation’s chronic exhaustion is costing companies billions of dollars each year.

Some companies have realized the problem and given their employees some much need rest. In most workplaces, sleeping on the job is discouraged and can get you fired. At Ben and Jerry’s it’s encouraged. The company has even created a special nap room for its employees.

“The nap room is definitely well loved here. Having 15, 20 minutes, even an hour if you need it, makes all the difference,” said employee Liz Stewart.

A poll from the National Sleep Foundation found 34 percent of employers let their employees nap while on break. Sixteen percent have even set aside a special room for employee naps.

“We are a nation of walking zombies. Seventy-one percent of us are not meeting the required seven and a half to eight and a half hours per night,” said Jim Maas, CEO of Sleep for Success.

A Harvard Medical School study estimated sleep deprived American workers cost their employers $63 billion in productivity every year. Ted Olsen with Power Naps, a company that offers sleep solutions, said that’s not all.

“Compound that with accidents and other broken equipment because of someone not quite fully on their game, you can add another $30 billion to that figure,” said Olsen.

Some companies have incorporated sleep experts into their employee wellness programs. One healthcare company even offered a six week course for insomniac employees and found it led to an increase of $672 in productivity for each participant.

“We talk about the serious consequences of sleep deprivation in terms of your health and your cognitive behavior, your productivity. We talk about sleep strategies that can be used,” said Maas.

Some companies are going beyond the simple nap room. They’re investing in ‘nap pods’ which provide employees with a dark soundproof bed.

“Just one 26 minute power nap can increase your cognitive skills by 40 percent,” said Olsen.

While some companies are encouraging sleep, others are helping their employees stay away with special lights designed to regulate melatonin levels.

“Many companies are bringing in special lighting to the workplace to give people an energetic boost so that they’re wide awake and alert through the workday or on shift work throughout the work night,” said Maas.

People looking for a better night’s sleep at home should go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning – even on the weekends. Avoid alcohol three hours before bed and skip the caffeine in the afternoon.

Also, turn off all electronic gadgets – including TVs, iPads and computers – one hour before bed time. Why? Because they put out daytime spectrum lighting which can block the production of melatonin – a hormone which aids in sleep.


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