Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee to get through your busy afternoon at the office, research suggests something more effective. Power naps can help alleviate tiredness in the afternoon and give you enough energy to last until the end of the workday. Take a look at why napping at the office works and how it may enhance your productivity better than caffeine.
Sleep and the Brain
Caffeine jolts you awake and boosts your energy levels. However, sleeping and power naps do more, such as improving memory, motor functions and learning. Your immune system recharges during sleep, which can help ward off illnesses, colds and even heart disease. Americans should get around seven to nine hours of sleep daily, according to The Sleep Foundation. Unfortunately, most people sleep around 6.8 hours per day. Every little bit helps. That's where power naps come in handy.
How to Take Power Naps at Work
Author Daniel Pink of "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing," says that naps help your brain smooth out the rough edges during the day. He compares the process to that of a Zamboni smoothing out an ice rink. The Mayo Clinic suggests anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of nap time per day to keep you at peak performance levels.
Business Insider contributor Laura McCamy sets her alarm for 10 to 15 minutes after laying down. She also uses an eye mask to blot out any light. She might listen to a soothing podcast to help her nod off to sleep. There are alarm clock apps for your smartphone that can alert you when it's time to get up. Consider listening to ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos or even Bob Ross's relaxing painting sessions to help nod off to sleep.
Where to Nap
Search out a quiet place to take a nap. Consider a board room that no one's using for the day. Some break rooms might have a cozy couch in a quiet corner. If it's not too hot or too cold, you might even lay down in your car. At least it's quiet there and no one should bother you. You might go so far as to unfold a portable cot and tent to spread out in your cubicle.
Make sure to tell your boss what you're doing, otherwise he might think you're sleeping on company time. Tell him you're using your break time to increase your productivity. Cite some scientific studies to make your case more plausible. Back up your claim by improving your production during the week.
Some employers go so far as to have a unique fringe benefit. Check to see if your office has a nap room or rejuvenation room. These spaces often have cozy couches or recliners where employees can take power naps for up to 30 minutes. Companies such as the Huffington Post and Nationwide Planning have nap rooms, and employees love them.
Power naps can become a regular part of your routine at the office. They're better than caffeine, and your boss can appreciate your increased output after taking a nap on your break.
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