The Power of Power Napping
Recently I’ve been revisiting a favorite past time: the nap. I used to sneak in a little slumber whenever I had the chance, but years in an office job kind of deprogrammed my inner napper.
Well, she’s back! Last week Siobhan and I did a radio tour by telephone (we have some of our up interviews here): This meant waking up at the crack of dawn for a few days. I don’t mind getting up early, but each day around 4 pm, my lids would start to pull over my eyes. So I took the 20 minute power naps… and they were great.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of sleep—which we also cover extensively in the book—and I’ve heard many a rumor about the of perks associated with short naps. But what does the research say? Turns out the buzz is warranted: According to a group of scientists at NIMH and Harvard, afternoon snoozes reverse information overload. And who doesn’t need that these days? They go so far as to say that napping prevents burnout.
Which makes you wonder: If naps increase productivity, and prevent burnout, shouldn’t they be an encouraged part of our daily routine? Most people tend to fade in the afternoon, hitting a mental wall sometime around 4pm—what if instead of going to the vending machine for a candy bar, employers created spaces for tired employees to lay their weary heads? Or at the very least, didn’t frown upon a desk nap (for those lucky enough to be able to sleep in such conditions).
What about you? Would you take a snooze at work if it was guilt-free?