If you’re scanning Twitter for the #NationalNappingDay hashtag and scowling enviously at anyone whose employer offers a space-age nap pod or even just a dedicated room for the occasional snooze, take heart. While we can’t promise you that your boss will care, the good news is that science is on your side when it comes to the benefits of napping.
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Should you catch your manager in a sympathetic mood, and feel like making a case for napping privileges at your company, these are the facts to lean on:
1. Creative workers are only good for about six hours.
Studies show that knowledge workers – a.k.a. those of you who are sneakily reading this on a work computer right now – are only productive for about six hours a day. After that, they’re essentially just holding down a chair. That’s a primary reason why some Swedish companies and cities have tried six-hour workdays in recent years. However, the U.S. isn’t Sweden, and your company probably won’t agree to pay you for eight hours and let you leave at 3 p.m. A nap might be the second-best way to recharge your batteries and get back to work.
2. Naps really do boost energy.
“You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,” says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, in an interview with WebMD. “You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.”
Mednick says a short nap is better than a cup of coffee for boosting memory and worker accuracy, because wired folks tend to make mistakes. Nap for half an hour to an hour, she says, and you boost decision-making skills, while longer naps that include REM sleep help you solve creative problems.
Some experts caution, however, that sleeping longer than 10 to 30 minutes can lead to grogginess, and a shorter nap will probably be an easier sell with the boss.
3. More naps might equal fewer sick days.
Napping does more than just make workers more alert and productive; it also has real health benefits. One study showed that napping can help prevent death from heart disease, while another seemed to indicate that napping might offset the effects of sleep deprivation on the immune system.
In short, getting catching a few Zzz’s at the office might help you make it to work every day, even during cold and flu season, and keep you healthier while you’re there.
Tell Us What You Think
Would you take a job for benefits like the right to nap at work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.