There was once a time when napping was something that was thought to be practiced only by the lazy, the unemployed, or the people who simply didn’t care about getting ahead or making an impact on the world. Or at least that was the prevailing sentiment. The truth is, however, the value of the power nap wasn’t lost on a great number of people and even companies, including high-performing executives and other people who do indeed care about making an impact on the world. The thing is they might not have been able to admit their love for naps until now – when the notion of napping is decidedly back in vogue.
These days, power napping is seen as a way of getting ahead – a way of eking even more out of every work day. We’re not talking about lying down and snoozing the day away here. No – instead, we’re talking about those short bursts of slumber that allow your brain to take a rest and regroup. Think of it like pressing the "restart" button on your computer: you shut things down for a few minutes, and upon restarting, you allow all the pieces to go back to their starting position,
and thus perform a lot better than they did when everything was scrambled and going in ten different directions.
It might have been more taboo back in the day, but in the modern workplace, you may be much more likely to get away with the power nap. If you’re not already getting in a mid-afternoon snooze at work, here’s how to convince yourself – and your coworkers and bosses – that you should be.
1. You'll Get More Done
Perhaps one of the most attractive benefits of napping during the work day is that it can make you more productive. When you hit the reset button on your day, you’ll awake feeling refreshed and ready to take on another of the day’s many tasks. There is a secret to doing it right though, reminds Mayo Clinic.
For one, you have to limit your naps to between 10 and 30 minutes. That sounds like a very short amount of time, but any longer than that and you’ll risk feeling groggy – which will have the opposite of your desired effect. Mayo Clinic also recommends planning your naps between 2pm and 3pm, because that’s when you’ll tend to experience the mid-afternoon tiredness. Other estimates put the best time between 1pm and 4pm. What’s more, taking a nap at that time won’t tend to mess with your nightly sleep.
2. You'll Be Less Likely to Snap at That Annoying Coworker
One of the many benefits of napping at work is improved mood. It makes sense: if you’re not chronically sleep-deprived, then you’ll tend to be a little less edgy in most situations. When you’re not so moody, you’re far less likely to lose it on that coworker who’s committed that workplace faux pas for the zillionth time. And when you’re getting along well with your coworkers, you’ll probably have a better chance of not being the social pariah, and perhaps even win enough affection to land you a promotion.
3. You'll Have the Stamina for Longer Work Days
Many modern workplaces – including startups and tech firms – are encouraging their workers to spend more and more time in the office. So-called "perks" such as table tennis and beer fridges are clever ruses that actually keep workers on the job longer. With that type of time commitment required of you, you’d do well to be alert for the long haul. A little nap during the work day can help you do that.
4. It Will Help to Avoid Chronic Disease
Believe it or not, napping during the day has benefits not just for your mental health and clarity, but also for your physical health. According to a 2011 study published by Springer Science+ Business Media, napping during the day can help to keep blood pressure lower. In the study, researchers found that a 45-minute nap actually helped to lower blood pressure among the study participants. So should you catch any grief for wanting to take a nap during the day, tell the people who are bothering you that you’re looking out for your heart health.
5. You'll Avoid Expensive and High-Calorie Lunches
The ideal time to take your nap happens to fall right after lunch – but since the only time you’ll have to actually devote to naps is DURING lunch, you may have to combine the two activities. Eat your lunch at the start of your break, and then turn down the lights and catch some quick Zs. Doing so means you won’t have a lot of time to go out and buy your lunch – and you’re not at all likely to have time to sit in a fancy restaurant. Thus, eating at work and then napping will help you not only avoid spending a mint on restaurant food and drinks, but you’ll also spare yourself the high-calorie lunch.
According to an infographic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), restaurant portion sizes are a whopping four times larger than they were in the 1950s – meaning you’re getting a lot of unnecessary calories, if you’re not careful. And what’s the other problem with that big meal? It’s likely to make you a lot more sluggish afterward. Thus, the (possibly) smaller meal at your desk is looking better and better, right?
6. It's More Effective Than Caffeine
WebMD says that taking a nap can be more beneficial to your productivity than that tall double latte can. That’s because caffeine actually impacts your mental alertness, suggests Sara C. Mednick, PhD, a sleep expert. So the next time you’re feeling like heading for the coffee room for an afternoon pick-me-up, do an experiment and try shutting your eyes for a few minutes instead. If you’re the type of person that needs that expensive coffee drink to get through the day, this could be yet another way you save money. Who knows? You might even save enough dough skipping the boutique coffee to start yourself a healthy retirement savings plan.
See Also: Sleep Habits of Successful People
By now, you should be convinced that a quick nap at work can reap a host of benefits for your productivity, your work relationships, and even your overall health.
To recap, here’s what you need to know about napping during the day:
- Keep your naps to between 10 and 30 minutes to avoid grogginess
- Nap between 1pm and 4pm to avoid nighttime sleep problems
- Ideally, look for a dark, quiet place to nap
- Set a timer so you don’t sleep too long
So never fear, dear lover of the mid-afternoon snooze, you have a lot of other people on your side, wanting you to succeed and to win the war for the workplace nap. If anyone hassles you about it, share these six reasons why napping during the day is actually a good thing.
What do you think about napping at work? Have you ever hid under your desk for a quick, 10-minute power nap? How did you feel afterwards? Let us know in the comments section below!