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Napping at Work Makes You A Better Employee

Napping at Work Makes You A Better Employee

You know that feeling where you’re at work, maybe even in a meeting, and you simply cannot keep your eyes open? A growing number of experts and employers have come up with a brilliant solution.

Go to sleep.

The middle of a meeting is probably not the best time to implement this fix, but a half hour nap before the meeting could make all the difference in the world. NASA studied the effects of naps and found that “a nap of just 26 minutes can boost performance by as much as 34 percent,” ABC reports. The nap also generates a 54% improvement in alertness, according to CNN Money.

Dr. Sara C. Mednick, author of the book “Take A Nap! Change Your Life,” summarizes some more of sleep’s effects. ”I found it helps with memory processing, alertness, and learning new skills,” she said. “We live with less than our recommended eight hours, and that means so many things — decreased sex drive, decreased productivity, and fatigue-related accidents. Napping helps with all of these things.”

It’s no surprise that workers are tired. “Americans have the longest working hours in the industrial world,” reports Salary.com. “Most working Americans sleep six or less hours a night, instead of the recommended 7 to 9 hours.”

If you don’t get that performance boost, both you and your employer pay the price. “Studies show tired workers cost business about $150 billion a year in lost productivity,” health care costs and absences. Napping, in contrast, “improves mood, creativity, and focus, all of which may make us better employees.” It even reduces “accidents and errors.”

Some employers are so eager to reap the benefits of alert employees that they make napping facilities available. Nike has relaxation rooms, Google, AOL, and CISCO have napping pods, and Gould Evans Goodman Associates offers sleep tents. Zappos.com, Yarde Metals and Lippe Taylor also provide sleeping rooms. 16% of American workers say their employers provide a place to nap, and 34% say naps are allowed at work. Given the advantages of having well-rested workers, these numbers may very well go up.

Mednick agrees: ”I think it’s just like working from home. Years ago your boss would have thought you were crazy if you asked to work from home, but now that companies see the results and increase in productivity, it’s become more and more common. I think once companies start to see an increase in production and fewer sick days from napping, it will become more and more common as well.”

Not getting enough sleep takes a toll on individuals’ personal lives as much as on their employers’ bottom lines. “Twenty percent of adults say they are so sleepy that it interferes with their daily activities. Eighty five percent of 30-something women report feeling tired on a regular basis.” Some people are so tired it can kill: sleepy drivers cause 100,000 car crashes a year.

Those who do sleep during the day are healthier than their wakeful counterparts. “A 20-minute power nap three times a week can reduce the rate of heart disease in healthy individuals by 37 percent, according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health.”

Naps may be so beneficial because mid-day sleep is built into our biology. According to the National Sleep Foundation, ”more than 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day.” Some human cultures sleep this way as well, enjoying afternoon siestas. This may be a more natural pattern for us than sleeping in one phase and staying awake for the rest of a day.

One thing naps can’t improve is a person’s moral judgment: Lance Armstrong and Bill Clinton are two famous nappers.

Related Stories:

FAA Changes Schedules for Air Traffic Controllers After 8 Sleep on the Job This Year

Some School Bullies Might Just Be Sleep-Deprived

Sleep is a Feminist Issue?

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138 comments

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10:56AM PDT on May 8, 2013

I need to work at THESE companies

7:57PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

I am not able to have that luxury at work...NOR should I be allowed to ! Imagine an E911 dispatcher taking a snooze and then awakened and having to think clearly?! Or when/if a radio transmission comes in having to snap awake and act quickly?! Doesn't always work out well for anyone involved. I get paid to work...not to sleep. I don't think the public would appreciate giving us nappy-time on their dime.

2:40PM PST on Feb 10, 2013

I want to work in those companies :O

7:05PM PST on Feb 6, 2013

I love naps but I am night owl, I cannot take a "power nap" has to be at least an hour preferably two. So I don't think napping at work would work for me even though I prefer 12 hour shifts

3:23PM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Our govt office allowed taking a nap at lunchtime at our desks since we were not in a public area. However, since I felt there was a real killer lurking in the building I would never consider it.

6:12PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

and what companies allow this???

3:08PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Seriously!? I don't think my bosses would agree.....what type of jobs do you people have?

12:44PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

I don't think employers would agree with staff sleeping at work.

11:24AM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Provided you have a one hour lunch break, let's say from 11:30am until 12:30pm as an example. What would be wrong with lying down on a cot and taking a nap as long as it was for the strict hour only? Not every day but on those where you really felt more tired than hungry.

What's the difference? If you leave the property to go out for lunch or lay down for one hour? If it makes you more alert and productive, how could that be a bad thing?

This would be particularly useful for those with odd shift hours and those working excessive twelve hour shifts.

9:54AM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Napping at work makes you an EX-employee.

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