There's been quite a lot written in the past year about the health and productivity benefits of napping throughout the day. According to the Mayo Clinic naps offer many benefits including;
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Improved performance
Despite what most people would agree are very positive benefits of napping - it doesn't really fit well within most cultures - with the notable exception of Spain with it's siestas. Most businesses still haven't adapted to the growing body of research that shows that promotion of health and well-being at work actually lowers medical costs, reduces absenteeism, creates happier and more loyal workforce and improves productivity.
There has been a long tradition of employees falling asleep in their cars during lunch breaks but this can be restless sleep, that may be too long - making you feel groggy when you wake up, or disturbed by light and the surroundings.
One product that looks to enable you to find nap satisfaction is the Ostrich Pillow.
The Ostrich pillow is essentially a big pillow that you put onto your head and comes in two versions; the original one seen the picture above and the 'light' edition as shown below.
Studio Banana who launched the product, designed by Kawamura-Ganjavian, following a successful Kickstarter project where it achieved its funding target in 72 hours and obtained nearly 3 times its original backing goal by the end of the project, had this to say about the product in their press release:
OSTRICH PILLOW offers a microenvironment in which to take a warm and comfortable power nap at ease. It is neither a pillow, nor cushion, bed or garment, but a bit of each, all at the same time. It’s soothing cave-like interior shelters and isolates both your head and hands, perfect for a power nap. You can use the Ostrich Pillow at your desk, on a bench, on the train or while you wait at the airport to catch a flight. In fact, you can use the Ostrich Pillow whenever and wherever you feel like a nap is needed.
While everything they wrote there is true - you could use it anywhere - but would you want to?
I'm in two minds about this product - on the one hand, there is all the research about the benefits of napping, and light and sounds can have a huge impact on the quality of sleep we get - so I get why the product exists.
On the other hand - I can't quite escape the feeling this is a wind up and selling a product that most people would acknowledge looks daft, in the name of 'well-being'. As if to compound this they also released a 'Lover's Pack' for Valentine's Day where you get two of the 'Light' pillows with a choice of designs on the inside - for while its dark. And you're asleep. Just in case the potential to see your partner while trying to sleep is too disturbing.
Having said that - I do think they look extraordinarily comfortable - and have even debated buying one - but held off for the meantime as I can't really imagine I'd use it out and about as the designers suggest. Also, can you imagine how awkward the original pillow is to carry with you?
While I'm still not convinced with the product - I whole heartedly endorse napping as a means to improve your mental and physical wellness. So while you debate whether to spend the £65.99 on an Ostritch Pillow, start crafting your best business case to put to your boss - take a look at this great infographic The Huffington Post UK put together on napping;