Whether you were up late last night or just feeling the after-effects of a filling lunch, you’ve probably experienced the temptation of sleeping at your work desk at some point. While a quick cat-nap during the day has previously been frowned upon in the business sector, a growing number of workplaces have decided to embrace it. Well-known companies like Google and Ben & Jerry’s have designated nap rooms in their offices or invested in nap pods to encourage their employees to go for some shut-eye whenever they need it. Many would assume that allowing employees to snooze on the clock would lead to a decrease in productivity. However, workplace naps come with a long list of benefits, i.e., boosted productivity and a happier and healthier company culture.
Napping tips & tricks
If you’ve closed your eyes for a nap only to wake up hours later, groggy and unsure of your surroundings, you might be wary of the idea of taking naps on the job. However, there are right and wrong ways of incorporating power naps into your routine. Neuroscience studies suggest that taking a shorter nap — around 20 minutes or so — is just as regenerative as an hours-long sleep session.
Despite the recommended 20-minute nap length, no two bodies are the same. Listen to your body’s response to nap lengths, and if you’re still feeling extreme drowsiness after a nap, you might not be sleeping as restfully as you think. Make sure you’re napping in a quiet, dark, and comfortable environment. Investing in items like a memory foam pillow or a roll-up mattress for pressure point relief and better spine alignment will make napping in your office a cozy affair. In addition to purchasing these napping essentials, always set your alarm before dozing off. That way, you won’t accidentally sleep for longer than you intended.
Showing up to work in a sleep-deprived state probably leaves you going through the motions of your day in a daze. Without the energy to stay alert, you might find yourself making simple mistakes in your work or overlooking errors you otherwise wouldn’t have missed with a good night’s sleep. A simple nap to allow your body to rest and regenerate energy will leave you alert and with the clarity of mind to tackle any challenges that come your way over the course of your day.
After a night of poor sleep, you might notice that you feel grumpy and irritable. Now, imagine not just you but one-third of your co-workers bringing that negative energy to the workplace. With about one-third of American adults reporting suffering from sleep deprivation, it’s a likely scenario that a significant chunk of your fellow employees is feeling the effects of fatigue. Taking a power nap during the day can negate the terrible side effects of sleep deprivation, leaving you and your co-workers feeling happier together.
Enhances work memory
It’s possible that after a late night, you have a more challenging time remembering what tasks you have on your plate at work the next day. Taking a nap can help you improve your work memory, which is the ability to focus on a single task while keeping other tasks in your memory bank to be completed later. By resting and recharging during the day, you can easily keep all your responsibilities in mind, ensuring you don’t miss a single thing.
Reduces mental health issues
Lack of restful sleep leads to short-term irritability and stress and long-term mental health issues. Disorders like depression and anxiety are linked to poor sleep, both as a cause and a result of insomnia and sleep deprivation. Curbing these mental health issues is possible with self-care and healthy sleep schedules. Constant fatigue can be lessened with regular naps, even if sleeping at night is difficult.
Fewer absences at work
Sleeping provides essential support to the immune system. While sleeping, your body releases proteins called cytokines, which promote sleep and are necessary to fight off infections or inflammation. By not sleeping enough, your body fails to produce a fraction of the cytokines, increasing your risk of falling ill. Instead of unnecessarily using up your precious sick days at work, try napping during a work break to boost your immune system and avoid catching a cold.
Strengthens conflict management
When you’re not feeling well-rested, any conflicts that might arise during the day or frustrating, unforeseen situations are much more difficult to handle. If you’re dealing with a difficult client or having a hard time with a co-worker, it’s much easier to lash out rather than dealing with the situation productively. Take time to rest and relax during the day, and you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way.
Recruits dedicated employees
Any potential or already-existing employee will see a napping room or a pro-nap policy at your business as a huge perk. In signaling that the company cares about its workers’ well-being, employees will feel more dedicated to the work they do. If your company requires weekend business trips on red-eye flights, having a napping room can help make up for lost sleep and keep productivity at optimal levels.
The bottom line
While napping on the clock may seem like an unconventional practice, it can simultaneously benefit employees’ general health and the company’s success. If you feel that you and your employees are losing the battle to sleep, consider implementing a pro-nap policy in the workplace and watch your productivity skyrocket.