Khaliah Guillory: the black woman who founded a Nap Bar for workers

Khaliah Guillory, an award-winning speaker, filmmaker, and philanthropist has founded a Nap Bar, the first white glove, self-care napping experience in Texas. It offers communities and companies onsite and in-suite sleep services to help reduce sleep deprivation and increase productivity. According to her profile, Guillory used to be an executive at a Fortune 500 company in the Greater Houston area working on a 75-per cent travel schedule. She would often take naps between her travel into the city.“I would grind the whole weekend to catch up, and then I would do the cycle all over again, so I was sleep-deprived,” Guillory told Essence. “I realized me working 80 plus hours a week and traveling, I couldn’t have been the only one who was beyond exhausted.”She soon found out that none of her peers was sleeping well or long enough through research. She learned that Black people are hit harder by sleep deprivation compared to other races.“We did three rounds of beta testing finding that naps improve your productivity, your mental stressors, they regulate your weight and decrease the chances of you having cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” Guillory said. “These are all the things that are plaguing the Black community.” Guillory came by a NASA study determined that a 26-minute nap can increase productivity by up to 34 percent and alertness by 54 per cent, but beta testing determined that even a 20-minute nap can increase productivity by 60 percent. After far-reaching research and testing, Guillory left her job and opened Nap Bar in April 2019 for professionals, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents, and travelers. “This is for sleepy humans, and sleepy humans are everybody, and they’re everywhere,” she remarked. The Houston resident added, “the rest you get at home where you may have roommates, partners or children or poor noise reduction and lighting doesn’t compare to the Nap Bar experience”. Nappers are surrounded by sustainable materials, rest-induced color schemes, and scientifically chosen brain wave therapy exclusive to Nap Bar. They are guaranteed quality sleep in a device-free zone with comfy beds and a range of sleep aids in an organic and sustainable suite. In late 2019 when Nap Bar moved to a new location in the Houston Galleria, it adopted a pop-up model to serve locations like convention centers and airports, frequently visited by people who need to sleep during long days. Guillory cites a report that every year, 1.2 million Americans miss work to catch up on sleep and black people get “short sleep,” defined as less than six hours per night. Beyond increasing personal wellness, Nap Bar aims to influence wellness in the workplace to increase productivity and provide employees with self-care. Guillory and her team had been negotiating corporate contracts to include a daily Nap Bar experience in employer benefit packages for companies. Just like any other business affected by COVID-19, the Nap Bar was affected. However, Guillory and her team created a service that now includes the Better Sleep Box featuring crucial sleep aids nappers would receive during a nap session to bring quality sleep to clients at home. Nap Bar also took advantage of the virtual space to engage clients with #WellnessWednesday virtual events where physical and mental health during quarantine are discussed. A new app to help decrease sleep deprivation and bolster overall wellness and creativity among users is underway. “I really want us to have intentional lives and longevity with the people that we love,” said Guillory. Born Khaliah Oni Guillory, she worked her way from a banker to a C-level executive. While she was vice president of Wachovia Bank, she served as one of the founding members of the Diversity Council. Her areas of expertise are in public speaking, performance productivity, personal branding, change management, building employee engagement, effective sales strategies, and building partner relationships.