Why Rest Should Be on Your Next Meeting Agenda

Try these five ideas to keep attendees feeling refreshed and alert

On the surface, a scheduled nap time seems like the most counterproductive element to a successful meeting or convention. 

But research shows that the restorative practice has real power. A quick 20- to 30-minute nap can boost alertness and a person’s ability to retain information and solve problems, among other benefits.

Naps improve job performance, too: A NASA study found that a 40-minute rest boosted the performance of sleepy pilots and astronauts by 34 percent. Although the daily workplace duties of many nappers might not entail such high stakes, the notion of being well-rested is of growing importance for many big companies and executive leaders. 

Google, Nike and Zappos, for instance, offer nap rooms to employees. Media mogul Arianna Huffington’s 2017 book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, espoused the many benefits (both professional and personal) that come from getting your Z’s. 

And because more than 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep, the deficit is also becoming a focus at some meetings and conventions. Here are some simple ideas to promote a moment of rest for attendees:  

A dedicated wind-down area: The bustle and pace of big meetings can leave any overbooked executive in need of a quick respite. Designating a safe, stress-free space to recharge is a simple way to flip the switch. Set up an essential oil diffuser—lavender is a good choice for its soothing properties—and play calming music to set the mood.     

Scheduled rest breaks: The best time to nap? It’s typically between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when your blood sugar begins to dip after lunch. Put an optional (or mandatory) break on the agenda for guests to retreat to their rooms or enjoy on-site options unrelated to the work at hand.

Meals and snacks for healthy sleep: With attendees possibly traveling from other time zones, it’s likely their circadian rhythms are thrown off. Certain foods can help everyone’s clocks realign as quickly as possible. Timing of meals and snacks also matters; serve larger (yet lean) items at breakfast and lunch, with lighter fare at night.

Sleep-friendly swag: Everyone loves a good gift bag. Whether it’s scented hand cream, pillow spray, soft pajamas or an eye mask that can be put in a hotel room refrigerator to chill off, thoughtful items that encourage sleep—be it overnight or a quick afternoon snooze—can help make self-care both a pleasure and a priority.

Therapeutic treatments and meditation: Some high-energy people just aren’t the napping type. But they can still benefit from a moment of calm. Hosting chair massages or group yoga can inspire antsy or overscheduled guests to take a few minutes for themselves. Your clients might even start saying “ommm” on a regular basis!