Afternoon naps aren’t just beneficial for young children. A growing body of research is showing that taking well timed and brief naps during the day do wonders for productivity and efficiency in an increasingly stressful and demanding modern world. Why? You’re helping yourself stay at your mental peak for much, much longer.
Why are naps beneficial?
Having short naps during the day allows the mind to refresh itself helping individuals be more creative, boost intelligence, process information, improve brain capacity and memory, be able to learn more easily, stay much more alert, and increase energy levels throughout the day. Better yet, the time-out taken to nap helps reduce stress, lessening the risk of stress induced illnesses.
Cloud nine company
Who is setting the precedent for napping at work? Well, Google of course. Known around the world as being one of the best companies to work for, and for all the great perks its employees receive, the latest is the ability to nap comfortably at work using high-tech nap pods to recharge themselves.
The sleeping stations are called EnergyPods and were designed using NASA science to help individuals get the most energy out of a quick snooze.
EnergyPods surround occupants to give a sense of privacy, shut out external noise and light, and are of course comfortable. To make sure users don’t sleep the day away, built in speakers, a timer system and light and vibration systems gently wake them when time’s up.
Why all this time and energy on sleep pods at work?
Short naps of ten to fifteen minutes, also known as powernaps, have big payoffs.
Studies show that those who get enough sleep and are able to take naps during the day show less anxiety, have greater energy, creativity and enthusiasm throughout the day, and a better ability to problem-solve – all critical traits in competitive businesses. In fact, it’s being demonstrated that a quick nap is more effective than pouring a giant cup of coffee.
Longer naps have their perks too. Taking a 90 nap before a presentation dramatically improves memory recall and thinking on the spot, leading to more informative and dynamic presentations.
Need a statistic to convince you? NASA conducted research on pilots that were allowed to take a 26 minute nap in-flight while the co-pilot was on duty. The results were improved performance by 34% and improved alertness by 54%.
So how do you introduce napping at work?
This can be a little tricky to implement as abuse can be counter-productive. Start by allowing employees the opportunity to nap during their lunch break. After this pilot study, introduce napping to company policy with guidelines that include the following:
- Watching the time. The most beneficial powernaps are ones between 15 to 25 minutes long that only enter the first two stages of sleep. Any longer and the sleeper will enter further stages and wake groggy and disoriented.
- Providing a quiet dark space. A private space that is quiet, dark and provides a horizontal surface to sleep on will provide maximum nap results in the short time. With the right company culture, employees will appreciate that you’re providing the space for them to rest and you value them being relaxed and energized. This should discourage abuse.
- Introduce a buddy system. If you’re worried about employees exploiting the opportunity to snooze, make it company policy that anyone taking a nap needs to inform a partner who will then ensure that it doesn’t go beyond the stipulated time. Alternatively provide an alarm that staff can set.
- Be clear about abuse. Make it plain that should sleep at work start being abused, the perk will be revoked for everyone. Studies show that naps of 15 to 20 minutes three times a week have beneficial effects. It’s up to you as a leader to determine how many nap sessions are permitted per week.
If you’re not happy introducing sleep time into company policy, let employees take a snooze elsewhere. Ultimately, refreshed and alert employees are much more effective and will have a positive effect on your business.