Recently after a pitch from a sleep-pod studio company on Shark Tank, Robert Herjavec turned to his fellow sharks and called himself old-fashioned, as he didn’t approve of sleeping at work. Despite the fact that an after-lunch nap is pretty standard for many Chinese workers, and napping in the afternoon has been a custom in India and Spain for centuries, Herjavec’s attitude reflects the thoughts of many managers: napping is for the lazy, something done on your own time. But science tells us otherwise.
Effects of Naps
Naps help to:
- increase alertness
- boost creativity and memory
- improve stamina
- brighten mood
They can be particularly helpful when you are in a naturally decreased state of energy (after lunch for someone on a 9-5 schedule, for example). These effects can obviously help someone complete not just more work, but better work qualitatively too. Perhaps nap pods at work shouldn’t just be for Silicon Valley startups.
Things to Keep In Mind
You need to keep a few things in mind to make your nap maximally effective – not just for your work, but for your health too.
Firstly, limit the nap to between 15-20 minutes. Any more and you risk entering slow-wave or even REM sleep, the kind of sleep that will make you feel groggy and disoriented when you wake up (this is because your body is having to “reboot” and that takes time). You can use an alarm or the “car keys in hand” method popularized by Michael Hyatt (he lets his arm lay off to the side and when the keys drop out of his hand he knows his time is up).
Secondly, use the sleep hygiene tips we’ve spoken about before. In this case, make sure the area you are sleeping in is as dark as possible (or wear eyeshades) and have a blanket, as your body naturally drops its temperature when you snooze.
Finally, while naps benefit even the well-rested, do your best to get quality sleep on a regular basis. This will go a long way to making sure that you look and feel your best, ready to make an impact on the world around you.
Do you ever nap as part of your work routine? Why or why not? Share with us in the comments below to get a coupon for a free shoe shine the next time you stop in at one of our clubs.
One way to avoid “entering slow-wave or even REM sleep” is to use a phone app. I use Power Nap from Sleep Cycle and it works great. What experience do others have with phone apps?
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