It might not be okay to sleep on the job - but one study thinks a daily nap could be key to productivity
If you’re someone who wakes up every morning already dreaming of when you’ll return to your bed that night, one study suggests that shut-eye shouldn’t be so far away.
With variables like hot weather, daylight savings and over-active brains stacked up against us, the Sleep Foundation quotes a NASA study that found a 40 minute nap improves productivity by 34% and alertness by 100%. Tested on astronauts and pilots, those are stats you can take to your boss.
According to a sleep expert, catching some zzz’s helps our brain retain information from earlier in the day.
“When we rest, our brain processes information it’s been exposed to… during the course of the day,” Christopher Lindholst, CEO of Metronaps, told Forbes. “It’s also very useful if you’re trying to learn something new… improves your mood because we tend to be grumpy when we’re tired.”
And if you’re guilty of succumbing to that 3 p.m. slump where you can’t seem to focus or think beyond the need for a carb-dense snack or being reunited with your bed, a nap could be the mini-vacation you require.
“Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation,” reads the Sleep Foundation website.
According to Lindholst there is a proper way to nap, however, and it doesn’t mean laying down on the break room couch for an hour or two. Recommending a 20 minute maximum, Lindholst suggests longer naps could be counter-productive in the workplace.
“If you nap for longer than that, you go into a deeper stage of sleep. It’s not bad for you to nap for longer, but you experience a lot more [of] what’s called sleep inertia,” he said.
Sleep inertia is that confused and dazed feeling you get after waking up from a deep rest.
When it comes to sleep, it’s a very varied topic with many claiming they struggle to fall asleep at night – let alone mid-day at work. If full shut-eye is off the table, Lindholst suggests taking 20 minutes to rest.
“Lie down and elevate your feet. That helps your body relax,” said the expert. “Then put something over your eyes so you’re not distracted by what’s going on around you.”
So how can you pitch this to your boss? The issue may not be with bosses allowing in-office shut-eye, but rather insurance companies not wanting the responsibility of a sleep sanctuary in the workplace. And according to Lindholst, unfortunately a nap room needs to be more than a couch in an empty corner of the office.
“Individual rooms typically aren’t so effective. Companies are often concerned about putting them in in the first place because… of insurance or fire, or they’re worried about hanky-panky in the office,” he said.
“You have to create a sanctioned space where it’s okay to go and [nap]. Typically, just putting a couch somewhere in the office isn’t good enough. Most people don’t want to be seen sleeping or lying down.”
If anything, this research suggests daycare centres may be onto something with their afternoon nap scheme. With such strong statistics, you can start building your pitch to the boss today!
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