The notion of sleeping at work isn’t very well received by the industry. Companies equate napping with laziness, and lazy or not, you might get chastised or even fired if you’re caught trying to catch a few winks.
But the fact is that today nearly everyone is sleep-deprived, and sleepy workers are irritable, likely to make mistakes and cause accidents, and more susceptible to heart attacks and gastrointestinal disorders.
That costs money and disrupts lives.
For hundreds of years in Latin America and in Europe, everyone quit work for a couple of hours in the mid-afternoon and went home for a refreshing nap. However, siestas are becoming a thing of the past. As countries become more industrialized and transportation to and from work more congested, the siesta has all but disappeared. Too bad. Time for change!
A coffee or cola break, perceived as a legitimate part of the workday, does provide momentary feelings of alertness. But consumption of caffeine will be followed by feelings of lethargy and reduced REM sleep that night. A debt in your sleep bank account, the cause of midday sleepiness, is not reduced by these artificial stimulants.
Why not attack the problem directly and get some needed sleep? We must strive to recognize brief naps as legitimate, and much more valuable than coffee breaks.
The corporate culture will gradually change as information on the tremendous cost of sleep deprivation, and on the biphasic pattern of natural sleep, become more widespread. Accepting the concept of napping will reduce errors and accidents, raise job satisfaction, reduce illness and ultimately improve the bottom line. What your companies lose in time they can make up in increased productivity. It’s a win-win situation that should make sense to everyone.
Since corporations have accepted the concept of “power breakfasts,” I coined the term “power nap” to encourage institutionalization of naps at work. A recent survey indicated that many executives take brief naps in the office to recharge their batteries. Why not allow all workers to have the same privilege?
In many corporate offices comfortable couches and sleep-friendly office furniture for midday snoozes are replacing hard-backed chairs. Cots are becoming available in lounges off the factor floor. And it’s working wonders. Employees are more alert, more productive and less accident-prone.
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