Nap At Work?

I’ll tell you right off, I’m not a slacker! I take care of more than my business of work and responsibilities and make the most of the time I’ve been given on this earth. Talk about multi-tasking–I’m the queen! But I cannot think of any good reasons not to nap when you’re tired, even when it’s the middle of the day. Even if you’re driving and get whoozy, stop and nap! If your brain is so tired and your thinking is going nowhere, nap! We all have our natural biorhythms you know?

Many countries have this down. I remember when I was in Greece, it irritated me that shops were closed and the world was at home napping after their mid-day meal when I hadn’t had mine yet! I was hungry! Same thing in parts of Italy. But one day I felt like my brain was mush and I took a full out nap and it did wonders!

Before you judge, read on.

Why Napping is a GOOD Thing

I have a friend, Cindy, who napped during her lunch hour the 12 years she was on a particular job . She took her alarm clock and snoozed along a shady spot on a nearby road. There was even another person at that spot who did the same..for TWELVE years! It made a huge difference in her afternoon productivity!

HR Daily Adviser recently pooled people about this subject and got varied answers, mostly positive:

  • “How I wish our company would permit even a 30-minute nap at work!!! I experience an energy dip daily around 2-3 P.M.—I am definitely less than productive then. We’ve had a recent surge in accidents (most of which were determined to be due to inattention to detail and loss of focus). I’m going to ask our safety team to see if there is a correlation to the “drowsy period”. I have a very private office and could probably take a short nap … if only I didn’t snore!”
  • “During both my pregnancies I napped at work in our lounge. I have napped at practically every job I have ever had (usually in my car over lunchtime). Now that I have children (and am subsequently up a lot at night), I frequently take naps in my supply closet.”
  • “As the workforce ages, I can see naptime as a very valuable recruiting tool.”
  • “Seven years ago, when I was working overseas, we had two-hour lunch breaks and I know that part of the secret to the mental acuity and high productivity of the more senior executives was their afternoon naps.”
  • “I am currently in the midst of a post-grad for NeuroLeadership and one of the areas I would have liked to have done my research assignment is on the area of napping—particularly as it relates to recharging the pre-frontal cortex. However, the major issues, I suspect, are still social views of napping equaling laziness and also having the appropriate spaces to do this.”
  • Napping Trick: “One trick: drink a cup of coffee just as you are about to take your nap. If you’re taking a 20 minute nap, it will hit your bloodstream at the time you’re awakening. Makes it a lot easier.”
  • “As a labor and employment lawyer, I often experience the need for a mid-day nap. I close the door, close the blinds, put the phone on “do not disturb.” I enhance my sleep with noise-canceling earphones plugged into my iPhone that plays background noise (waves, rain, etc.) and certain wave sounds that stimulate particular brain waves conducive to sleep, dreaming, etc. After 20 minutes I awaken and am refreshed and ready to go forward for several more hours (til 8 pm usually).”

Show Me The Evidence!

With workers doing more with less now, stress is at an all time high. We need to manage this to stay healthy and productive! Here, look at this: says that “dozens of small medical studies have shown that napping for about 30 minutes to an hour in the early afternoon increases a person’s productivity, alertness and sometimes even their mood.

“Still, unsanctioned napping —or to put it more precisely, ‘drowsiness’ —on the job actually costs U.S. businesses $18 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a recent report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.”

Medical researcher Sara C. Mednick (author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life”)  says that “… without a midday rest, we are not able to perform at optimal levels throughout the day. In fact, our performance falls apart. Napping maintains and even boosts our skills.”

As reported by ABC News:

  • Prime nap time is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. That minidip in energy you experience is biological, not because you just ate lunch, Mednick says.
  • Sleep has three stages:
  1. Stage 2 Sleep. Within 20 minutes, you experience “Stage 2” sleep, which increases alertness and motor skills.
  2. Slow Wave Sleep. Within 40 minutes, you’ll experience slow wave sleep, which increases memory.
  3. REM Sleep. This is deep sleep you’ll get if you nap for up to 90 minutes, and it increases creativity.
  • Low light and low noise will help you fall asleep faster.
  • Studies show that naps up to 90 minutes won’t interfere with your sleep at night, so don’t sleep too long. And don’t nap within three hours of bedtime.

F. John Reh, of, says “One of the reasons for the changing attitudes towards ‘sleeping at work’ (as opposed to ‘sleeping on the job’) is the growing recognition of the cost to business of sleep deficiency among employees. These costs include:

  • increased errors and accidents
  • increased absenteeism
  • increased drug use
  • increased turnover
  • higher group insurance premiums
  • decreased productivity


So there! Would it be so bad to take a recharging break mid-afternoon? I think not!


Related Posts

One Comment

  1. Alaa, 3 years ago Reply

    I work nights, 85hrs every two weeks as a nurse. I can sleep on a dime, but I find when I have my days off, I need a nap in the arftenoon from 1pm to 3pm, and I guess just making up for lost time from working nights. I still find time for karaoke nights, boxing and weight lifting. My life is great, and I believe it is a matter of balance. Listen to your body, and rest when it tells you to. That is my way of living and the only advice I can offer

Leave a Reply