Nap Your Way to Success: Science Says Napping at Work Increases Productivity

This is a guest post by Ali Jan Qadir from SleepJunkie. When he’s not busy practicing sleeping, he likes to study and blog about sleep the neurochemistry of it. Follow him on Twitter.

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Working environments these days are getting increasingly competitive. Many of us spend long hours at work, trying to get on top of an ever expanding pile of to-dos and meetings. Some of us also get to carry our work home with us. The line between work time and personal time has started to get thinner and thinner and is teetering on the brink of being dangerously unhealthy.

The time the average worker has to get proper night’s sleep is dwindling. The amount of sleep that an American worker gets per night (on average) has slid down from a healthy 8.25 hours of sleep to 6.75 hours of sleep, research shows.

That is a staggering amount of sleep lost and is what accounts for those long Monday morning faces at work, that drag on well into the middle of the week!

An unorthodox solution that is gaining popularity and work culture acceptance fast is taking a nap during work hours.

Is napping at work really a thing now?

“Napping on the job? Preposterous! That would look bad! Not to mention the chewing out I’ll get from the boss if she catches me snoozing on the clock!”

Quite the contrary, a lot of companies are hopping on this bandwagon and with good reason!

Researches show that taking a 24 minute nap can have a 34% boost on performance and a whopping 54% increase in alertness.

Those are HUGE numbers towards overall increase in productivity.

One of the first companies to truly embrace on the clock napping, Yarde Metals, has the practice deeply ingrained into their work culture, since 1995!

Craig Yarde, founder of the company finds it funny that napping on the job went from being totally ridiculous to being cutting edge. They did it before it was cool and now swear by it and it’s not just them, sanctioned naps are very popular in tech companies where employees have to work long, unpredictable hours.

Non-tech companies like, Huffington post, Nike and, surprisingly, even Ben and Jerry’s are onboard with napping at work.

Napping can boost your productivity.

drowsiness at work

“Drowsiness” at work costs the U.S $18 Billion a year.

A lot of companies focus on the health of their employees by offering in house gyms or gym memberships, but most forget about the importance of a well-rested employee.

The longer you’re awake, the more drained you get. Which is why catching a quick nap is a sure fire way to rejuvenate. You will feel better, be more alert and, be able to focus on the task at hand.

In a study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that participants that were napping on a regular basis were able to perform tasks much faster than participants who were not given the opportunity to snooze.

The study also found that well rested individuals had more control of their emotions than people who did not nap.

Thus napping at work isn’t just only a cost efficient way to increase workplace productivity but also improve teamwork and synergy as employees with more emotional control can collaborate better.  Workers spending more time focusing on their tasks than being passive aggressive to each other is a good sight for any manager.

Napping boosts your brain’s performance at work.

Research conducted at the University of Berkeley has shown that not being well rested actually decreases the ability of the brain to learn and retain information by nearly 40 percent! This owing to a shutdown of brain regions because of sleep deprivation.

“Sleep not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before you took a nap,” said Matthew Walker, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and the lead investigator of these studies.

In the study, 39 healthy young adults were divided into two groups and given taxing, rigorous learning tasks that were intended to test the hippocampus region of the brain that helps store fact based memories. Initially the groups, with and without naps, performed comparably. However, as the day went on and one group was given the opportunity to take a nap while the other wasn’t, performance metrics tilted dramatically in the favor of the group that had been given a nap.

Napping can keep you safe.

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Does your job require proximity to potentially dangerous equipment? Perhaps you work with machines on a factory floor? Maybe, your work requires you to drive for long periods of time. Do you handle sensitive materials and equipment?

If you do, ensuring you are wide-awake and alert can mean the difference between life and death for you or a fellow . If you aren’t well rested, you are much more likely to slip up, miss an important detail, react slower.

Research by NASA formulates that a short 30-minute nap raises reaction times by 16% and task performance by 34%. This works out in both your and your employer’s favor that won’t end up with more accidents at work.

Remember, Caffeine is NOT your friend!

If your body is not getting enough sleep, you are not going to be on top of your game at work.

No, having obscene amounts of caffeine and energy drink shots during the day are NOT making you more productive. It is NOT improving your cognitive skills and bandwidth, if anything they are forcing your body to stay awake thus putting it under a lot of undue stress.

You can, however, make up for the reduced amount of sleep that you are getting by napping at work.

Time your nap right!

Even if you are getting a good night’s rest, napping during the workday can still be beneficial. Depending on the type of tasks that you perform at work, you can take a preventive (just before the task) or an operational (during the task) nap. Be sure to time your naps right to get the most out of them and to make up for sleep inertia (the time it takes your body to get out of its drowsy, sleepy state).

If you’re lucky we hope your job is nap friendly and if it’s not, you should ask your boss to read this article.

So, are you ready to give napping at work a try?

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

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