When I was a child, I remember hating nap time. Sleeping was boring and all I wanted to do was play, read or generally follow my Mum around and pretend to act ‘grown up’.
Isn’t it funny? That now, as an adult, I secretly yearn for mid-afternoon naps at my work desk? Nothing would delight me more than a 30 minute power-nap to recharge my batteries. My young self was so unappreciative of all those extra hours in bed!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, it still remains unclear what the natural sleeping patterns for Humans’ should be. Some argue that we have evolved to stay awake during the day and to sleep through the night, because our busy working lifestyle prevents any other way.
Yes, apparently there are different categories of napping. A ‘power nap’ is typically a 10 – 30 minute sleep session that occurs between 1pm and 4pm. Napping for longer than 30 minutes results in that groggy feeling (sleep inertia) which defeats the point of napping at all. Napping later that 4pm can disrupt your normal night-time sleeping cycle.
However, author of Take a Nap! Change your Life argues that napping for any longer than 20 minutes is a big no no, because it takes too long to recover.
Interestingly, research has shown that “ultra-short” 6 minute naps can improve our ability to recall information and facts. Tell that to your boss the next time he catches you with your eyes closed!
There are numerous benefits associated with napping, including improved alertness, learning, memory and performance.
However, more recently we’ve also discovered that napping on the job can restore our attention and the quality of our work, as well as reducing the number of mistakes we make. Planned naps were tested inemergency department physicians747 pilots, who each demonstrated noticeably better performances in their roles after a nap, when compared to not napping at all.
Other benefits include relaxation and mood improvements.
Companies are actually starting to catch on the benefits of napping, and some work environments have began creating special sleeping zones for their staff.
Google and The Huffington Post are amongst some of the first firms to install MetroNaps sleeping pods in their offices.
One of my favourite products that I’m dying to get my hands on (cough cough, send me one please!) is the Ostrich Pillow. Designed for on-the-go napping for commuters and office workers. Admittedly, it looks slightly ridiculous, and it would utterly ruin my hair for the day, but it really does look like one of the most comfiest and inviting sleeping products I’ve seen.
If anyone knows of any other office-napping-tools, I’d love to hear about them. Join in the conversation on Twitter, or comment below.
Employers, I want to know whether providing 20 minutes napping is something you’d consider to help improve the work of your employees. Do you believe in the benefits? Or do you think it’s a waste of time? Let me know!