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How to Nap for Productivity

February 18, 2022   By Clarisa Mcdonald

It might sound counterproductive when you first hear it, but dozing off or taking daytime naps during work hours have been found to boost overall productivity.

Taking a short nap in the middle of the day may sound like a day in your pre-school, but many in the work sector have adapted and integrated napping as a part of their daily schedule.

Not all naps are the same; in some cases, napping may not be productive, but doing it correctly would allow you to reap its benefits.

Wonder how napping can give you a productivity boost? Continue reading to find out.

Power Naps

You’ve likely heard the term “power nap”, and it’s called that name for a reason; when done correctly, power napping can really give you that extra boost along with other positive effects on your mind and body.

Even the National Sleep Foundation agrees a 30-minute nap or less can help restore your alertness, increase work performance and concentration, and effectively decreases errors and accidents in the workplace.

Power naps, in essence, should be brief enough before you reach the deep sleep stage of your sleep cycle (also known as your slow-wave sleep). During the early phase of your circadian rhythm, your body helps process memories, and that helps improves your cognitive performance.

Likewise, sleeping in the middle of the day has also been found to effectively reduce stress, cancel out sleepiness, and clear your mind of thoughts, which can be really helpful on a stressful workday.

How Long Should I Nap?

Power naps should be quick; remember that it’s an afternoon nap, and it’s not your bedtime. Some nappers can just lie back on their seats and close their eyes for a minute or two, and that can already be considered as a power nap.

As with everything, too much of something can be counterproductive. Research shows that it’s best to nap only for up to 30 minutes to get the benefits of napping. It’s ideal to sleep less than that to avoid the risk of going beyond the 30-minute nap limit.

Should you desire to take longer naps, it’s much better to commit to it. Some research shows that taking a 90-minute nap so that you may reach a full REM sleep cycle of your sleep stages. Taking that longer nap is effective at reinforcing memory and giving a creativity boost for your brain.

What Happens If I Nap Too Much?

Power nappers know this all too well; napping for too long can give you a headache rather than a quick refresh of your brain.

Going beyond a 30-minute nap can lead to sleep inertia or that groggy, lightheaded feeling you get when you’ve just woken up. So, make sure to set the alarm before taking that nap.

Likewise, spending a reasonable amount of time sleeping in the middle of the day may affect your ability to sleep well at night. This is due to your circadian rhythm, or your own body clock is disrupted and altered.

When’s the Best Time to Nap?

If you can ascertain that you would only take a few minutes of napping, then it could be at any time of the day, after your first meeting in the morning, during your afternoon commute or whenever you find it convenient.

But, when you nap, try to avoid napping later in the day or when it’s too close to your bedtime, as you could either completely doze off or make it harder for you to sleep at night.

Others find it best to nap right after lunch since heavy meals often redirect our energy into digestion. Giving our mind a rest during those hours allows us to allocate our body’s energy more effectively.

Is It Okay to Nap at Work?

The answer to this question really depends on your office’s culture. But, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to get a few minutes of shuteye in the workplace in recent times.

In fact, some offices now have their own nap rooms as part of their employee perks which help support how workers improve their productivity.

For some cultures, it’s even a part of their tradition. Siestas in Spain has been practised for a very long time already. In Japan, it’s not unusual for stores to close during the early afternoon, in which, at this time, employees can take naps before they prepare for a surge of customers in the later parts of the day.

How to Nap in the office?

There are many ways for you to get a quick nap in the office. Here are some tips on how you could achieve it:

Book a conference room – As long as the conference room or a meeting room isn’t in use, then it’s an excellent place to take a quick nap. It’s often silent, lights can be dimmed, and room temperature is usually cold enough. All these factors contribute to good sleep hygiene, making it a preferred place for naps.

Sleep on your desk – Whether your lie back and recline on your office chair or rest your head on your desk, these can still be effective ways for you to get a power nap. It might be a little loud on the work floor but take it positively as this ensures that it will be hard for you to fall into a deep sleep.

Sleep inside your car – In some offices, it can be frowned upon to nap inside the workplace, so if you have a vehicle parked in a shaded area, you can steal a few minutes of napping during your break time without your boss seeing you.

Nap rooms – If you have a nap room inside your office, then you’re lucky that you have a workplace that recognizes the productivity of napping. Use your office’s nap room as this is often designed for you to have a proper nap during the day.

Enjoy your naps!

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