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The Power of Napping at Work

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Did you know taking a power nap during the day increases productivity?

In fact, getting some shut-eye is better for you than reaching for that cup of coffee.  New research suggests companies are saving money by encouraging their workers to nap during the day.

With a growing body of evidence that napping can actually help with productivity and performance, learning the art of the power nap is good for work and your health.

How to Take a Power Nap At Work

The key to successfully napping at work is to remember one thing: Keep it short. Not only will a long nap eliminate most of the benefits of a short rest, but it’s not likely to please your boss and co-workers. In fact, even companies like Ben & Jerry’s that encourage napping with a designated space strictly limit naps to 20 minutes.

To successfully sleep at work:

  • Find a quiet space to rest. If you can’t close your office door, find an empty office or conference room, or even head out to your car. In fact, if your employer expressly prohibits sleeping on the job (as the federal government does) your car might be the only viable option.
  • Set a timer. 
  • Get comfortable. You might keep a pair of warm slippers or a light blanket in your office for napping, or use an eye mask and headphones to block sound.
  • Be subtle. If your co-workers aren’t on board with the napping at work concept, don’t make a big show of your sleep sessions to avoid irritating them.

Why Naps Help

Why are power naps so beneficial? 

To answer this question, we look at the quality of sleep of the average American, and unfortunately, it’s not ideal with at least 70% of adults not getting enough sleep at least one night per month.

The CDC has labeled sleep deprivation a public health epidemic, as studies show that as many as And as the lines between work and home become blurred, technology allows for constant availability, and the quest for productivity takes precedence over leisure time, the number of people getting fewer than six hours of rest per night is steadily increasing.

Inadequate sleep increases the likelihood of health problems, and it’s detrimental to productivity. Simply put, tired people don’t perform well. A lack of sleep affects memory, decision-making skills, accuracy, mood, and a host of other factors, all of which can impact how well you perform on the job.

Consider this: Several of the largest disasters in recent memory, including the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, were at least partially attributed to sleep-deprived workers. Taking a short nap during the day can help make up some of that sleep deficit (although nothing replaces a solid night of sleep), but it also offers some additional short term benefits.

Research shows that napping is more effective than caffeine for improving memory, perceptual learning, and motor skills. Given that many people reach for caffeine, either coffee or soda, to beat the 3 p.m. slump, it only makes sense to encourage naps instead.

The Power Nap Win-Win

Employers and workers win with power naps—the napper benefits with improved mood, memory, energy and low blood pressure.  The business wins with greater productivity from its staff. Did you know the average worker is productive for just 3 hours a day?   According to INC., workers are on the job for eight hours, yet less than half that time is spent achieving something.

So what are workers typically doing if they’re not working? 

On a typical day, you’ll find your worker reading the news, hanging out on social media, catching up with the gossip via email and SMS messages, making drinks and food in the office, to name a few non-productive actions.  Therefore if you can convert some of that time to real output for the business, less money is wasted, so it is a big win.

Are you taking a nap during the day when you’re remote working?

Remote Workers

Companies may find it harder to instil the twenty-minute shut-eye with their remote workers. However, remote workers are less stressed and more productive than their colleagues working full time in the workplace, so maybe if napping is not your thing, letting your staff remote work part of the week will achieve the same outcome – more work done.