Is napping the new normal?

At least one-third of us aren't getting enough sleep, according to Statistics Canada, and new napping trends could help make up for lost time.

New retail options are selling sleep to tired consumers

Carina Kresic and friend Melanie Kalloo visited Canada's first Casper Sleep Shop at Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens. (Jason Osler/CBC)

At least one-third of us aren't getting enough sleep, according to Statistics Canada, and new napping trends could help make up for lost time.

"I love napping! Who doesn't like to nap?" said Carina Kresic, as she stepped out of the Casper Sleep Shop at Toronto's CF Sherway Gardens. Inside, customers can book a free nap in one of two rooms at the back with curtains.

"They would have to provide you with earplugs or something because it's a mall — it's busy. But I think it's a good idea," said Kresic.

Her friend, Melanie Kalloo, is a nurse and regularly takes naps during long shifts in the hospital.

"I think naps are important and I think this would be beneficial for people who do shift work or who are always on the go," said Kalloo.

The Toronto store is Casper's first in Canada with a second location opening in downtown Toronto later this year and expansion plans for cities across the country.

American napping trends a sign of what's to come

In New York, Casper opened a napping store called "The Dreamery" with rentable nap pods at the cost of $25 US for a 45-minute nap. The company says if the pilot goes well, it may expand to locations across North America.

Inside the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, customers can close out the world with private nap rooms by NAPINPod, equipped with an ergonomic lounger, reading light, charging outlets, work table, 19" touchscreen monitor for web browsing and an alarm clock, all at the cost of $8 US per half hour.

A prediction piece by Deloitte Canada about the future of malls suggests it's something we could soon see in Canada as malls look for ways to keep you hanging around.

They are already appearing at some airports as an aide for weary travellers trying to shake off jet lag between flights.

'Sleep variability sometimes is even worse than sleep deprivation'

"A short nap of like 20 minutes, what is called power nap, we know is really good," said Reut Gruber, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at McGill University. She is also on the board of directors at the Canadian Sleep Society. "It boosts our mood and helps us. It doesn't diminish our ability to fall asleep in the evening."

The key is not sleeping for too long. Gruber says using a nap room without being educated on how to use a nap to your advantage won't help and could lead to inconsistent sleeping patterns.

"Sleep variability sometimes is even worse than sleep deprivation," said Gruber. "So what you don't want these nap rooms to do is to encourage people to be very, very inconsistent. You don't want it to be some days one way, another day a different way because we know that this is actually harmful."

About the Author

Jason Osler is the national 'trends' columnist for CBC Radio.


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