How can an afternoon nap be good for business?
As soloists, our resources are tighter than ever. We don’t have time to take a nap. Our clients depend on us; they expect us to be efficient, responsive and, well, awake. So taking a nap during work hours is not professional behaviour...or is it?
The ‘power nap’ catchphrase tried to help the snooze cause. Perhaps it’s best remembered because of its amusing contradiction, rather than interpreting it as permission to siesta en masse.
Many internationally acclaimed high-flyers are openly declared anti-nappers. Donald Trump says “If you want to be a billionaire, sleep as little as possible.” Meanwhile Tony Robbins recommends replacing the urge to nap with press-ups.
Alternatively, countries like Spain and Portugal have assumed for centuries that taking a siesta is normal. But do we really need hot weather to justify it? Some corporations in the US and Japan have recently embraced the call, providing napping rooms for employees in the hope that it will ultimately create a more alert workplace and, therefore, increase profits.
It appears that science is on their side. Many studies have found that napping benefits the heart, hormones and cell repair. More specifically, napping can help with memory retention; lift mood and lower stress levels.
"Napping can help with memory retention; lift mood and lower stress levels."
Below are some tips I’ve gleaned from these studies that might help you to nap ‘successfully’.
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Ten tips for the perfect nap
- Keep the nap to 20 minutes or less otherwise you wake in deep ‘slow-wave’ sleep which will make you feel sluggish and unfocused
- Lose the guilt remember that napping helps productivity
- Nap just after lunch and avoid late afternoons, that’s when you are more likely to fall into slow-wave sleep (that sluggish problem again)
- Eat foods that are high in calcium and protein as they help the sleep process
- Don’t consume a lot of caffeine or fatty/sugary foods before napping.
- Exercise helps but finish at least 30-60 minutes pre-nap.
- Find a quiet and preferably dark place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Use a blanket as body temperature drops when you fall asleep
- Set your alarm. You may find after practicing this for a while, you might not need it due to natural body-clock rhythms.
- Stick to your napping ritual, do it automatically and it’s less to think/stress about
If you don’t fall asleep within ten minutes after a month of trying, feel free to give up napping for good. It’s not for everyone.
And before you judge those who like forty winks, ‘great nappers’ include: Winston Churchill, Napoleon, J. F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates.
So enjoy your nap – you’re in good company.