The Business of Napping

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The Business of Napping

We all have our “work quirks” to increase productivity. I, for example, work best with ambient music playing and ~30 tabs open to stimulate my brain from creative lapses. I have a friend who can’t work without two screens: one to work on, and one playing a movie he’s seen a thousand times. My roommate says he works better in crowded libraries or coffee shops than his quiet office back home. Whether these habits have objective value or are just a matter of self-inflicted psychological manipulation remains to be seen. However, one tactic has scientific backing behind it, but it’s more utilized by toddlers and retirees than 9-5ers: the nap.

 It’s understandable that the idea of napping at work strikes employers as objectionable, but the fact that some of the most progressive companies have outfitted their offices with “nap rooms” should signify the value of a daytime snooze. Moreover, the science! Unlike the addictive, temporary solution of caffeine, a daytime power nap of 15-20 minutes will reset your system, provide relief from sleep deprivation, boost your energy, and improve motor performance. Caffeine, on the other hand, decreases memory performance, a true trojan horse of vitality. For those that fancy (and can take) a longer nap of 30-60 minutes, expect enhanced creativity and memory to come out of it. After all, didn’t Don Draper’s greatest moments come out of prolonged periods of inactivity?

 Now, this doesn’t mean it’s time to fill the break room with hammocks (like Huffington Post), or invest in convertible desk-beds (like Google), but perhaps it’s time to take another look at napping on the job. Maybe start slow-- a built-in nap period during lunch time, or a once-a-week Nap-a-palooza-- but in our increasingly mobile, work-as-lifestyle world, traditional strict office practices just won’t fly anymore. Many people could do their jobs from home, and to enjoy some of the same freedoms they’d enjoy at home will only increase loyalty and productivity. Naps result in healthier, happier employees-- imagine their reaction when you hand out branded eye masks, a clear statement of confidence and trust. After all, the increasing amount of content employees have to process due to improved communication technology and social network expansion makes a mid-day reset all but necessary.

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