Check Emails, Write Report, Catch Some Zzzzz\'s?

Work-place napping may be the answer to productivity and quality of work issues for employees who are sleep-deprived.

Is there a line-up at your office coffee maker mid-afternoon every day? Do you drink that caffeine to keep your head from slamming down on your desk when you fall asleep after lunch? Maybe taking a nap would do everyone good—you and your employer—with improved work quality and productivity.

Lost productivity

According to the US National Sleep Foundation sleepy employees cost billions of dollars in lost productivity and sick days, which leads many progressive employers (Google and Nike for example) to provide their employees with time and nap-conducive spaces to recharge.

Many sleep experts see the office nap as a natural evolution in a sleep-deprived world. The new reality for many hard-working individuals means they are doing twice the work in half the time, and then going home to at least four hours more of work between making dinner, taking care of kids, and doing housework.

It’s only natural

These experts point out it’s natural to feel the need to sleep in the afternoon. Our bodies’ circadian rhythm—our internal biological clock—has two low periods in each 24-hour cycle. The first low occurs between 1 and 4 am and the second occurs 12 hours later between 1 and 4 pm.

We’re also sleep deprived

Not only do we work hard during the day, but sleep problems—including insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and sleep deprivation in general—also affect a majority of Canadians, according to a 2011 report from the World Association of Sleep Medicine.

Their report said 60 percent of Canadian adults feel tired most of the time and get, on average, 6.9 hours of sleep a night, although experts recommend eight hours. Canadian research indicates 30 percent of adults get fewer than six hours a night.

With all these sleep-deprived people in our midst, slipping off to a quiet corner to catch a few zzzzz’s sounds like a win-win for everyone—including your boss!

Tips for a good office nap

  1. Most important: make sure it’s okay with your boss!
  2. Find a quiet place to nap—somewhere away from traffic and phones.
  3. Have some caffeine just before napping; consuming about 200 mg of caffeine just before a 20-minute nap can improve performance and reduce sleepiness once you wake up.
  4. Set an alarm (on your mobile phone) to go off in 15 minutes; napping longer will be counter-productive.
  5. Get up as soon as your alarm goes off and move around.
  6. Wash your face and find some bright light; this will help you feel more awake.


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