The idea of finding a colleague asleep at work is quite an awkward thought for most of us. On finding a workmate in repose, we would probably all be guilty of suspecting them of slacking off or feeling unwell.
This view of napping isn’t as universal as you may think though. In fact, Japanese workers who nap during their lunch break are actually seen as more industrious than their non-sleeping counterparts, and some Japanese employees will even feign falling asleep at their desks to impress their boss.
Many businesses are also coming around to the idea of napping at work because of a growing field of research that shows it can improve productivity and reduce stress.
Researchers published in Nature Neuroscience demonstrated the restorative effects of napping by testing subjects’ perceptual performance over the course of 24 hours. The subjects were tested four times, and their results got worse with each test, but subjects who were allowed to take a 30-minute nap between tests showed almost no deterioration in performance, and those who took a 60-minute nap actually improved their score.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with some ideas to help you get 40-winks at work (20-winks if it’s a coffee break) so that you can get even more done and impress the bigwigs.
You’re not going to get anywhere near the land of nod if you’re worried that you’re doing something wrong. As we’ve outlined already, napping during your lunch break is a positive step to take that will boost your productivity, so quit worrying.
If there’s one thing to avoid, it’s oversleeping. Therefore, to make sure you don’t sleep through an important meeting or get back to your desk late, set an alarm before closing your eyes. Telling a close friend that you’re going for a nap is another good way of reducing the risk of catching too many z’s.
Sleeping somewhere new can pose a problem when trying to nod off, so bring some home comforts with you to work if you’re thinking of indulging in a nap. Anything from a pillow to a hot water bottle will do – this is your time, so make it yours.
We hope that we’ve dispelled some of the misconceptions surrounding lunchtime naps, but if you still don’t think that you’re up to the challenge, make sure you get all the rest you need with a top-quality mattress instead.