It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it—taking a nap at work? How could you! Sleeping at work is frowned upon culturally as it shows “disinterest” and “disengagement”. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Studies show that naps improve mental health, boost immune systems, improve brain function, and regulate emotional control. All this can be improved with as little as 10 minutes of napping a day.
Although there is a stigma around napping at work, that is soon being eliminated—the benefits of power naps at work are impossible to ignore. If your office isn’t nap-friendly yet, here are some tips to get some Zzz’s!
Take the Nap Early
Your body naturally dials down around 2pm to 3pm every day due to your circadian rhythms. In order to avoid messing with your sleep that evening, aim to nap close to this mid-afternoon time, or earlier.
Sleeping any later in the day will make it so that you can’t sleep through the night and will make it harder for you to wake up the next morning. All you need for your nap is 20 minutes—any more time than that will leave you feeling disoriented and sluggish.
Find a Good Location
Sleep hygiene is still important, even for a short power nap. Look for a space that’s quiet, dark, and relatively private. You’re trying to get close to a REM cycle during this nap, so any disturbances will keep you awake and render the nap useless. If you can’t find a private location to nap, you can do with ear plugs and an eye mask, and simply put your head down at your desk.
Even though the stigma is slowly being eradicated, if you’re worried about what people may think, you can always sneak a nap in your car during lunch. Park your car far away in a shady corner and lean your chair back to avoid detection.
Some more options for napping without detection are:
- Book a conference room for a “meeting”, but use it solo
- Find a less-frequented bathroom (for bonus points: bring work documents so it looks like you’re going to a meeting)
- Under your desk if you’re in a cubicle or office
Talk to Your Boss
Most modern companies are beginning to be more understanding and accepting of the fact that their employees are human beings. It’s quite possible that a simple conversation with your employer could spark a positive change in the work climate to one where normal physiological requirements are accommodated.
It’s a shame that the idea of taking a nap at work is met with such negative connotation—although studies say otherwise, it may be a while until society accepts that notion. Until then, there are ways to get around the social stigma by using your already available breaks (lunch) to your advantage. Taking a nap during the work day improves alertness and productivity. The important thing to remember is that taking needing a nap in the middle of the day is normal and not something to be ashamed of!