How to Take a Nap (at Work)

In our modern society, nappers are deemed ’lazy.’ Napping is often seen as a waste of precious time during which one could be doing something far more productive. However, that is anything but the case. Napping is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body—especially at work.

With most Americans working hours beyond the traditional 8 hour day, almost 30 percent of workers admit to falling asleep or succumbing to intense sleepiness while at work. This is not only bad for our personal health, but it is bad for our employers, too. In fact, companies that don’t embrace their employees’ need to nap end up losing billions of dollars yearly due to reduced productivity and human fatigue-induced mistakes. For this reason, forward-thinking companies like Google and Nike actually encourage their employees to take short naps while at work by providing napping rooms. Even British Airways allows pilots to take a nap on long international flights while a co-pilot takes the reigns to increase post-nap alertness.

Napping is a natural function for over 85 percent of mammals. For humans, napping has been shown to:

-reduce daytime sleepiness by 10 percent

-improve mood, alertness and stamina by at least 11 percent

-enhance cognition by 9 percent

-improve physical health by 6 percent

Due to our natural circadian rhythms, we get sleepy at two main times in a 24 hour cycle: late night/early morning (when we are usually conveniently asleep) and between 2 and 4 pm—the twilight of the average workday. A quick power nap during this window can easily re-energize your afternoon, allowing you to focus better, think more creatively and make better choices in both business and health.

To nap at work, utilize part of your lunch break or any small windows you have throughout the day. Try to find a place where you will feel most comfortable and secure, be it an unused room, your locked office or even your car. Is there a first-aid office in your building? See if they have any extra beds you could borrow for 10 minutes on your lunch break. Or, make productive use of a mandated 15 minute break by fitting in a quick desk nap. Make sure to set a timer, and snooze your way to better productivity!

Boss not on the napping train? Try making an appointment with him or her in which you present the facts in a clear, calculated manner. Many companies have wellness and exercise initiatives, but sleep is just as important. Hey, it’s worth a try. You’ll feel better. They’ll save money. You might just shift your office’s napping policies, which will surely make you the workplace hero! 

FAMOUS NAPPERS

Think napping is lame? Some of the world’s greatest minds seemed to have disagreed. Here are some of history’s most infamous proponents of napping:

Salvador Dali

Thomas Edison

Margaret Thatcher

Albert Einstein

Leonardo DaVinci

Eleanor Roosevelt

Winston Churchill

THE HYPNAGOGIC NAP

While there are all types of napping, from mini naps to full 90 minute sleep cycle naps, if you’re looking for a creative boost midday and have access to a private space, try hypnagogic napping. Geniuses like Dali, Edison and Einstein frequently practiced this type of napping. Essentially, it relies on relaxing the body so that it is on the cusp of sleep, then immediately awakening. Here’s how to try it:

After a period of hard, brain-busting work, the napper gets comfortable and tries to clear his/her mind. Often, some sort of implement is used to ensure that the napper will awaken before sleep. Famously, Dali sat in a chair holding a heavy key and placed a metal plate beneath. The idea is that the key will drop from the hand right on the cusp of stage 2 sleep, making a loud noise and waking the napper up before sleep deepens. This first stage of sleep is the state in which the mind release a flood of creative thoughts and napper can practice lucid dreaming. This allows the napper to tackle pre-nap problems in a more creative way, since the brain is allowed to process the information in a liberated, lucid, pre-sleep stage. It’s no wonder so many brilliant minds utilize this technique!

Conversely, one could simply set a 20 minute timer and hope that one does not fall into stage 2 sleep. Falling into deeper sleep could make you feel groggy rather than refreshed and nix the creativity and productivity benefits that hypnagogic napping offers, so it’s important to know your sleep tendencies.

SNOOZE SUPPORT

While the best place for a real siesta is a hammock (the gentle swinging has be proven to help us fall asleep faster), you probably don’t have one of those in your office. Instead, find a comfy chair in a quiet area and set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes. If you need a little napping guidance, the Power Nap App plays relaxing sounds as it times your nap for you and wakes you up gently after 10 to 30 minutes. Plus, there is an adorable animated cat on the screen that naps and wakes with you!

Once you begin to adopt power naps as a regular part of your day, you’ll be surprised at how much more energized and productive you become. While not everyone can necessarily nap at work, getting creative with your sleep schedule is never a bad thing.

Is your workplace nap-friendly? Do you think it could or should be? Share below!

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65 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Nancy BIELECKIE
Nancy BIELECKIEabout a year ago

Interesting stuff, I sleep great at home and quickly fall asleep when I go to bed. I get tired when I relax after work. For me, I have always found that movment inspires movement and I work much more efficiently that way.

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Brett Cloud
Brett Cloudabout a year ago

Ty

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Brett Cloud
Brett Cloudabout a year ago

Ty

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Jessica K.
Jessica Kabout a year ago

I like the idea of how being at the cusp of sleep improves creativity. Thanks.

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Joseph V.
Joseph Vabout a year ago

If you can nap at work do it. Decide for yourself whether or not this is feasible and don't pay attention to any of the so called therapists on this site.

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Ruth S.
Ruth Sabout a year ago

Thanks.

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Janet B.
Janet Babout a year ago

Thanks

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Habout a year ago

Noted!!!

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