Could napping at work really boost productivity?
A NASA study shows that a nap of just 25 minutes can increase performance by as much as 35 percent.
The average American gets 6.7 hours sleep a night; the recommended amount is eight hours a night.
Some companies are starting to respond to sleep-deprived workers by providing the time and space to nap during work hours.
Once you lay your head down for a nap, the worst thing to do is start stressing — this will waste time and defeats the purpose of getting the most rest in the least amount of time. To help you get the most of your power naptime, we suggest trying a few of the following tips:
Most sleeping difficulties are psychosomatic, not physical, so if you are having trouble falling asleep, consider revaluating the environment you’re sleeping in. An environment conducive to napping is quiet, dark and free from interruptions. If you sleep on a floor at work, keep a mat (like a yoga mat that rolls up) at work, and possibly a pillow and blanket, if that makes you more comfortable. Other tools of the trade to consider – eyeshades, ipod or walkman with restful music, or specific MP3 files designed to help you wind down and fall asleep.
Collect your equipment
Blankets, pillows and, where possible, a foldout bed will ensure you get the most out of the rest, and help you separate naptime from the rest of the day
Make sure you’re not worried about waking up
Some people wake up naturally, but if you are worried, make sure you have an alarm. It is difficult to enjoy your 40 winks if you keep getting up to check the time after 15, 20 and 30 winks
Avoid consuming caffeine, fat, carbohydrates or sugar in the hours before your nap as these foods make it harder to get to sleep. Instead, try to consume protein and calcium. In an ideal scenario, drinking a glass of warm milk about an hour before you plan to nap will encourage you to sleep.
Control your nap environment
There is nothing worse than being woken up mid-nap, so either tell everyone what you are doing, or take yourself off to somewhere you won’t be disturbed. According to Anthony’s survey, the loo and the car are the most popular options
Don’t feel guilty.
Napping is great for your health and productivity. But even though most of us know this, we often still feel as though we are wasting time. This feeling of guilt only impedes successful power napping. Instead, make an effort to “recognize that you’re not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.”
Be prepared for grogginess when you wake up
Sleep is characterised by cycles of light and deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you will feel groggy for 15 to 20 minutes. In most cases, if you sleep for less than 30 minutes, you won’t enter deep sleep, but experiment to see what works for you
Wake up on time
Plan the length of your nap and set an alarm for your desired awakening time. If you do not have access to a formal alarm clock consider using the sleep timer on your cell phone or downloading an alarm clock program to your computer. If you struggle with waking up after even short naps, you might consider taking a “caffeine nap.” Being late is a sure way to put an end to your power naps.
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