Members of the House of Lords can no longer “rest their eyes” while in the chamber. After several instances of our noble peers snoozing on the red benches، the government’s chief whip، Lord Taylor of Holbeach، circulated a memo warning members of the upper house they should stay awake in the chamber. “It has been observed by members of our house that، over recent months، conduct in the chamber has not been of the standard we should expect،” he said in an email، as the Guardian siad. Napping lords make us laugh، but sleeping at work is more widespread than we might think. Firms that require employees to work odd hours such as airlines often provide sleeping facilities. If facilities are not on tap، workers take matters into their own hands، sleeping on sofas and in supply cupboards. In many countries، a nap is a part of the working day. For his PhD thesis، Dr Zhongyuan Zhang found that napping was an important part of the working day in a Chinese governmental department. Employees would nap on the company minibus on their way to and from work. At lunchtime، they would roll out sleeping mats. But sleeping at work is not just for shift workers or Chinese bureaucrats. For his book Empty Labor، the Swedish academic Roland Paulsen spoke with many so-called “empty workers”، whose workloads took up less than half the time spent at work. Far from being relaxing، having nothing to do was tough. To get through the day، some worked on a novel، others played video games. Some just slept. Even overburdened employees are encouraged to kip on the job. Software developers، advertising agencies and investment banks have started to install sleep pods. Bosses claim they increase employee wellbeing. But they also send a message: why go home to sleep when you have a comfortable bed in the office? And the strategy seems to work. In Dr Alexandra Michel’s nine-year study into the welfare of US investment bankers، she found that many of those she interviewed didn’t mind staying at work through the night. They told her that going home was much more difficult. It meant facing up to an angry partner، domestic chores and existential emptiness. At work، people were nice to them and everything was provided – including a comfortable bed.