BANGKOK, Thailand - A Bangkok municipal office has launched a new program to increase productivity: Lights go out just past noon and civil servants are invited to take an afternoon nap.

Seeking to infuse city workers with a bit more pep, the Pathumwan district office in central Bangkok has set up a lunchtime "nap room" with soft music, sweet-smelling flowers and strict rules barring mobile phones and talking, said Surakiet Limcharoen, the district's top official who started the program.

"I've been taking naps at lunchtime for a long time, and decided to introduce the project to my staff in November," he said, noting many use the naps to recharge their batteries ahead of evening shifts.

The Bangkok Post showed a photograph in its Monday edition of the nap room - a wood-paneled room with civil servants seated around a conference table, their heads down on desks with the blinds drawn.

Of 200 employees at the municipal office, there are about 20 regular nappers who have reported feeling "fresher and brighter" after a midday snooze, Surakiet said.

When they aren't sleeping, the civil servants handle all municipal matters for the district, including taxes and identification card registration.