Daily Archives: October 26, 2009

Sleeping on the Job? Why Not?

I’ve enjoyed hitting the concrete early a.m. for the past two weekends. And I’m not sure whether my new shoe insert is helping, or I’m just adapting to the pain. Whatever. It’s good to get up, scan the online media and time-suck sites, and look forward to heading out the door.

While on my own journey around the neighborhood, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Northwest Airlines jet that missed the Minneapolis airport last week by a 150 miles or so. Oops. And this isn’t just a — “my bad” — moment for the pilots. It raises some scary and important safety issues — as well as some that touch on our national security post 9/11. I don’t like flying these days under most circumstances, but I know for sure that I don’t want to look out the window and see a flock of fighter jets giving me the thumbs up.

OK. Were the pilots asleep? At least one says no. I heard him say that to an NBC news reporter this weekend. Hard for me to believe that the pilots weren’t asleep. I guess we’ll see.

In any event, as long as everyone in the cockpit isn’t sleeping at the same time, is napping such a bad idea? Before the Northwest Airlines debacle, I opined on the subject of napping, suggesting consideration of a federal mandate that would allow everyone to catch some zzzzzzs at work or at school and so on.

And for once I’m not a lone douche bag shouting in the wilderness about an important issue. For instance, Andy Pasztor writes on WSJ.com, “Latest Air-Safety Idea: Naps in the Cockpit.” Joshua Freed and Harry R. Weber look at the issue in this AP story, “Could pilots take a nap make flying safer?

I recognize that it will be a tough sell to convince passengers that it is OK for the pilot to be napping behind a locked door while the plane is moving ahead to what we all hope is its intended destination.

But I’m not sure it is such a bad idea for the airline industry — and it’s one that should be extended to the workplace in general.

The National Sleep Foundation says that 30 percent of the nation complains of disturbed sleep patterns. Will napping solve that problem? No. Insomnia — whether for a night or a long period of time — is a serious issue, one that presents serious medical and other risks.

Yet the benefits of napping are real — and well-documented.

Sleeping on the job? Sure — why not.