Napping is a habit of the greats: Self-proclaimed nappers include Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Winston Churchill, among many other successful thought leaders and innovators. Luckily, organizations are slowly beginning to see the connection between powerful brains and extra sleep.
According to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), around six percent of U.S. organizations including The Huffington Post, Nike and Pizza Hut have started to provide nap rooms for their employees. Napping stations, nap pods and even snoozing suites have now made their way into airports, universities and shopping malls.
Let’s dive into the benefits of napping at work and help you determine what kind of napping is right for you.
Sleep and Battling Workforce Development Challenges
Increased Productivity: If you find yourself struggling to stay focused and meet deadlines at work, there could be a scientific reason behind it. According to the journal SLEEP, a lack of sleep costs U.S. companies a whopping $63 billion in lost productivity each year.
To assess your situation, take a look at your sleeping habits. Maybe you have had more late nights than usual or have had trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour. If this sounds familiar, consider napping as a way to help you regain concentration and boost your productivity. Research shows that even a 30-minute nap can improve memory recall and lead to superior overall cognition.
Reduced Stress: When you sleep, your brain processes your feelings and experiences throughout the day. As a result, when you cut your sleep short, you end up having more negative emotions than positive ones. Multiple studies illustrate the positive impact that lowered stress levels have on your health, and consequently, your performance. Napping can reduce anxiety and depression on a chemical level, by minimizing your cortisol levels (a hormone that elevates your blood sugar).
If you find yourself more stressed than usual, napping could be a great way to balance your emotions and regain the stamina you need to perform at your best.
Staying Constantly Connected With Your Mind
Impact on Working Memory: If you can’t stop making simple mistakes in your recent projects or find yourself forgetting simple tasks, napping may be the answer. When you are napping, your stream of thoughts and feelings can mesh together in ways that can’t happen when you are in a deep sleep. This can improve your memory. In fact, a study by NASA found that napping actively improves your working memory, which involves focusing your attention on one task while holding other tasks in memory. This is a fundamental ability in performing complicated work like piloting a spaceship … but it can assist you in your everyday work as well.
Studies also show that naps improve not only memory but also intellectual performance and accuracy. MRIs of nappers showed that brain activity stayed higher throughout the day than for those who didn’t get a chance to snooze.
Napping To Improve Learning and Performance
Be Mindful of Time: The length of time you nap for is important, and it’s not a great idea to nap without planning it out beforehand. Be aware that, for some, a nap of more than 30 minutes can cause “sleep inertia” and leave you feeling low-energy as your body has started to enter deep sleep.
Consider the following benefits of naps by length:
20-minute Nap: Will boost your mental alertness, memory and motor learning skills. This is often deemed “the classic power nap.” A power nap enables you to achieve stage two sleep, which can improve both short- and long-term memory.
20 to 30-minute Nap: Boosts not only your memory but your creativity.
30 to 60-minute Nap: Improves up your decision-making skills and memory.
60 to 90-minute Nap: For many people, this the most beneficial nap type because it helps you get some quality REM sleep. If you find this time for rest in your work day, you have the chance to reset your brain and enhance your problem-solving skills.
Is It Nap Time Yet?
While it’s true that short power naps can improve brain function, long or irregular napping patterns can negatively impact your productivity. But don’t worry: As long as you are mindful of your napping habits, you will be able to incorporate naps into your daily routine and reap the benefits. Napping might just improve your overall mood and positively affect your attitude toward others, such as co-workers and customers. Who wouldn’t want that?
Has your workplace considered investing in napping stations? Which napping style has served you best in your job? Share your thoughts with us on social media by tagging @WeLearnIs.