The Power (of the) Nap
People have long searched for the remedy to the afternoon exhaustion that sets in, leaving them tired and unproductive. Employees often sip coffee or pound energy drinks in an attempt to stifle their grogginess. But research indicates the best thing you can do to improve your alertness, mood, and productivity, is simply take a power nap. Power naps have proven to be extremely effective in combating the effects of sleep deprivation and boosting productivity during the mid-day lull. In a research study conducted by the NASA sleep researchers, a short power nap of just 26 minutes boosted the performance of their pilots by an impressive 34%.
The act of napping shouldn’t be viewed as laziness or lethargy, but rather an essential part of the day. Winston Churchill was a major fan of naps, saying, “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner… Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day.”
In the corporate world, a power nap may be a hard thing to implement. Companies like Google have established extravagant places for their employees to nap, referred to as the Energy Pods. But for those who aren’t lucky enough to enjoy the exuberant benefits provided by companies like Google, we may have to adjust our thinking on the implementation of napping into the work place. Based on the statistics, napping will increase employee productivity. For managers, power napping should be something that is encouraged. The best investment you make in your business might just be a comfortable place for employees to slip away for a quick nap. For employees working in an environment where napping is taboo, look for a quiet place during your lunch hours. At the very least, try napping when you get home. It could seriously improve your mood during the evenings, and increase performance for any leftover work you have.
Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your power naps:
- Go dark and quiet. The body is most able to fall asleep in this setting. If this means goofy earplugs and an eye mask, so be it.
- Keep it short. A power nap should only last between 20 and 30 minutes. Napping for too long can actually increase grogginess.
- Be consistent. Try to shoot for napping at the same time each day so your body gets accustomed to napping and you will fall asleep faster.
So the next time you go to pour your fourth cup of coffee in an attempt to push through the afternoon, remember the power of napping. It will boost productivity, performance, mood, and alertness, and leave you feeling ready to take on the rest of your day.