Sleep science comes in and out of popularity all the time. Articles surface showing the latest research on its newly found benefits. Usually, the results explain that we should all value sleep more than we do. Nothing revolutionary there. We’re all overworked, underslept and need to give more attention to our nighttime habits.
But in addition to sleep studies, stories on napping are popping up more and more. The art of the power nap is something you’ve probably dreamed of mastering. Yet you probably don’t take advantage of the quick catnap after lunch. What about your friends? Do they curl up under the conference table for a snooze? Why is it so hard to make use of this great productivity tool? Is it because you simply aren’t a napper? Or is it more that the culture at your company would disapprove of such behavior?
My guess is that it’s a little of both. Most adults I know find it difficult to fall asleep in the middle of the day. But more importantly, company culture tends to frown upon napping at work in spite of its known benefits. Several major companies (you know who I’m referring to) offer nap facilities on their campuses, but are they actually utilized? Why is this conversation all talk and no action? There should be no shame in closing your eyes for 10-20 minutes in order to boost productivity.
In every formal job I’ve held, I’ve made it a point to take short naps regularly. I never deny that when my door is closed, I’m snoozing. I even encourage those on my team without an office to use mine when they just need to close their eyes for a few minutes. We’re all entitled to a lunch hour and how you use your time is up to you. Unless napping is explicitly against your company’s policy, you should absolutely try it.
HOW TO TIPS
Once you’ve determined you want to venture into napland, there are the questions of how and where to nap at work. With open floor plans and coworking spaces on the rise, finding the perfect spot can be tricky. Ideally, you would want a quiet spot, low light and room to stretch out. That said, here are some other options when you can’t find that perfect spot:
- Have a coffee (coffee naps are the latest trend in napping)
- Find a corner or a nook somewhere in the building
- Wrap yourself in a large scarf or blanket if you have one handy
- Set an alarm for NO MORE THAN 30 minutes. Try a vibrating watch or ask a co-worker to tap you on the shoulder at a set time if alarms turn out to be too disruptive
- Use earplugs or listen to soft music (I made you a playlist) to keep out clatter
- Get an eye mask or this amazing eye pillow that works wonders
- Kick your shoes off
- Now Rest away!
Now that you’re a napper, spread the word. Talk openly about it with your colleagues. Print something like this and post it on the company fridge (anonymously, or not). If you’re the boss, experiment with what it might be like to encourage a midday siesta.
Napping doesn’t need to be something that happens every day, but it should be treated as an option just like getting an afternoon coffee or a taking a quick walk. It isn’t just for children. Nor is it a sign of laziness or lack of ambition. Let’s destigmatize napping.