Fighting sleep debt in Tokyo

Whether it's insomnia, sleep apnea, an over-booked travel itinerary, or for those who live here in Tokyo, long working hours or a hobby that keeps you up late at night, a cumulative lack of quality sleep (also known as "sleep debt") is a serious problem plaguing many of the people who call this city their temporary or permanent home. And while there are numerous affordable ways of catching a good night's sleep in Tokyo, there are far fewer options available for those who just need a good nap during the daytime. Sometimes as little as 30 minutes, or at most a few hours of restorative sleep can make all the difference in how you enjoy your time and perform whatever tasks you need to do.

Few options for daytime naps

Those of you with experience in Japan may be thinking there are other ways of taking a nap. You could go to a manga or internet cafe and sleep or even use a love hotel and their kyukei 休憩 (rest) course. However, those options are not ideal. While the staff at some manga or internet cafes in Japan turn a blind eye to sleepers, other cafes have explicit rules prohibiting them and yet others will handle it on a case by case basis (with snorers at a disadvantage). As for love hotels, not everyone feels comfortable going to one solo, let alone sleeping in one, and some hotels prohibit it outright.

So, then, where in Tokyo can you go to sleep comfortably, affordably, and with the peace of mind that comes from knowing it's a reputable establishment specifically designed for that purpose, so you can sleep to your heart's content? You may want to consider the Nescafe Sleep Cafe.

Here to stay: Nescafe Sleep Cafe

Beginning in March 2017 with a month-long limited experience in Harajuku, and again in August 2017 and March 2018 in Ginza, Nescafe offered special cafes where customers could experience sleeping or napping on comfortable reclining chairs or beds with high-quality mattresses, in an environment with sleep-assisting audiovisual and monitoring technologies, with the extra perk of a good cup of Nescafe coffee. These month-long pop-up cafes were met with much enthusiasm by the Japanese public, where chronic sleep debt is a major social problem.

Nescafe collected the results of these three temporary cafes and after careful research and preparation, decided to finally open a permanent version on March 6th, 2019, in the Ōimachi area of Tokyo.

Here's what you can look forward to when you visit:


Nap Course

Includes a cup of Nescafe Gold Blend Deep Roast coffee (sugar-free), and a nap on a leather reclining chair: 30 minutes, 750 JPY (excl. tax)

Ever heard of a coffee nap? You may think that caffeine immediately kicks in when you drink a cup of coffee, but it actually takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes from the time you drink it to the time it truly takes effect. If you drink a cup of coffee then take a short nap, you'll wake up just in time to feel its effects and go about what you need to do fully charged and ready for that meeting or having fun experiencing Tokyo's nightlife.

Sleep Course

If you'd rather sleep in a bed, you can do that too, just like the woman in this photo which Nestle presumably provided in their press release for illustrative purposes!

Includes a cup of Nescafe Gold Blend Deep Roast coffee (decaffeinated sugar-free), either a leather reclining chair or a FranceBed brand mattress (and pillow) in your choice of softness, and a cup of Nescafe Gold Blend Deep Roast coffee (sugar-free) afterwards: 60 min for 1,500 JPY, 90 min for 2,480 JPY, 120 min for 3,300 JPY, or 180 min for 4,950 JPY (excl. tax).

For customers sleeping between 60 and 180 minutes, Nescafe Sleep Cafe provides their decaffeinated version first to sip while they peruse their options, choose the softness of their mattress and get ready to sleep. Afterwards, they serve a caffeinated cup to help customers wake up and more fully enjoy the restorative effects of their sleep.

Sleep Tech

To ensure that customers will have the most beneficial sleep experience possible, Nescafe Sleep Cafe provides the following technology-enabled support measures:

Smart lighting system

Philips's Hue is a smart IoT lighting system. Nescafe Sleep Cafe uses "Relax," one of the "light recipes" developed by Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) based on research into the effects of light on the human body, to create a warm light conducive to a peaceful sleep.

Relaxing high-resolution audio

Nescafe Sleep Cafe uses the R-LIVE high resolution audio system, playing natural sounds such as forests and rivers recorded at high resolution. Such sounds have been proven through research to induce a relaxed, content state in humans by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

EEG monitoring sleep mask

This photo, provided in the press release for illustrative purposes, shows the LUUNA in use.

Using the LUUNA intelligent sleep mask, Nescafe Sleep Cafe can monitor customers' brainwaves as they sleep and provide them with a report of the quality of their sleep for their reference when they wake up. Providing feedback on sleep quality is a useful service which can help customers better understand their sleep debt and take a proactive role in maintaining healthy sleep habits.

Nescafe coffee

Naturally, customers can expect excellent coffee at the Nescafe Sleep Cafe. Non sweetened Nescafe Gold Blend Deep Roast coffee is available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties:

Nescafe Sleep Cafe Information

  • Name (JP): ネスカフェ睡眠カフェ
  • Name (EN): Nescafe Suimin Cafe (Nescafe Sleep Cafe)
  • Grand Opening: Wednesday, March 6th, 14:30
  • Hours of operation: 9:00 to 18:00 (reception closes at 17:30)
  • Capacity: 6 beds, 4 reclining chairs
  • Price: From 750 JPY (30 mins.) to 4,950 JPY (180 mins.), excluding tax
  • Address (JP): 東京都品川区大井1-7-7 K-2ビル5階
  • Address (EN): 5th Floor, K-2 Bldg., 1-7-7 Ōi Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo 140-0014
  • Access: 3 min. walk from JR or Rinkai Line Ōimachi Station
  • Reservation: Online at their website (from March 1st, 10:00 JST)
  • Website: Nescafe Sleep Cafe

By - Ben K.