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Sleep Your Way To Success


I know what you are all thinking and you really need to get your mind out of the gutter - as that is not what this post is about. :)

Taking a NapDr. Maoshing Ni recently wrote that one of the secrets to longevity is taking power naps.

According to Dr. Mao, taking a power nap - generally between 15 and 30 minutes - can benefit you in the way of enhanced cognitive function, improved patience, better reaction time, and better overall health. In addition to these benefits, taking a midday nap is a great way to reduce your stress and may decrease your risk of heart disease.

It may seem counterintuitive that sleeping on the job can actually improve your performance. But when you consider that many people are sleep-deprived, fatigue can cost a company significantly in the form of costly mistakes, accidents, and overall poor productivity.

While some companies are beginning to encourage the midday power nap, your boss or company might not yet buy into the benefits. If that is the case, try these sneaky tips to grab a quick break (use at your own risk):

  • Nap in your car. During your lunch break, head out to your car for a quiet place to take a quick nap. By getting out of the office, you will avoid any distractions and interruptions from your co-workers. If you’re worried about people seeing you in the parking lot, drive to the nearest store and pull into a parking spot to take your nap.
  • Fake phone call. Your boss might not like the site of you sprawled out taking a nap, so sit at your desk and hold the phone to your ear like you are on a call. If possible, sit with your back to your office or cubicle door. Best used when you just need a few minutes to relax and recharge.
  • Bathroom sleeper. At a previous job I actually worked with someone that did this on a regular basis, as we discovered when we heard snoring in the bathroom. This is a great place to avoid interruptions and I highly doubt anyone will question you even if they do realize that you have been in the bathroom for 15-20 minutes.

There are many benefits to taking a short nap during the day, as I am sure you may remember from your college days when an afternoon nap was part of the routine.

You will return to your work with an increased energy and enthusiasm after a short nap. Just don’t sleep too long as then you will enter the deeper stages of sleep and will have a difficult time becoming focused again.

If you get caught sleeping, be prepared to discuss the benefits to an afternoon power nap and how you are attempting to improve your work productivity. :)

Photo courtesy of frenchbyte

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    On November 12th, 2007 at 7:23 pm, Damien said:

    I agree naps are excellent, however I have a hard time taking them!

    On November 13th, 2007 at 11:17 pm, Derek Semmler said:

    I do too most of the time. However, I tend to get very little sleep and it does catch up to me so I have been known to grab a quick nap here and there.

    My biggest problem/concern is not being able to wake myself from a nap. :)

    On November 13th, 2007 at 11:50 pm, Damien said:

    LOL. Yeah. Someone recently asked me on facebook what the scariest moment of my ife was. I remember sleeping in during a major final once. That was pure fear-adrenaline when I woke up!

    On November 14th, 2007 at 5:30 am, Kelvin Kao said:

    Speaking of which, I’ve napped during a final once. I had two final exams that day. One is at 8am and the other at 3pm. The one at 8am is the one that’s a piece of cake for me and I didn’t even do any last minute studying for it, while the 3pm one was a very difficult one. I ended up staying up almost the whole night studying for the 3pm one, so when I got to the 8am final, I was tired. So, after looking over the final and estimated how much time it would take, I decided that I can afford an one-hour nap. So the first thing I did at the exam? Close my eyes and nap. Of course, I didn’t want to nap too long, but I know a power nap will recharge me and help me think. I forgot how long the nap was, probably around 15 minutes. I think it helped me out. I mean, that class was easy for me and I can probably do the stuff without a problem when I am tired, but the nap surely helped boost my efficiency and decreased the likelihood of making stupid mistakes.

    On November 14th, 2007 at 8:30 am, Derek Semmler said:

    @Damien :: I know that feeling all too well. I’ve even experienced it in recent times on days when I have an early meeting and realize I never heard the alarm.

    @Kelvin :: That is a great story. As you started, I thought for sure you were going to say that you fell asleep and missed the easy final at 8am. It sounds like the power nap really worked to your advantage. So, how did you do on the 3pm final? :)

    On November 14th, 2007 at 2:43 pm, Kelvin Kao said:

    I ended up with an A, but that’s actually a little ironic. The final is really really hard, much harder than the homework and that actually worked toward my adventage. The professor was not a good lecturer, and as a result, most of the class don’t know what they are doing. I actually haven’t been doing my homework that much (homework was graded for being turned in, not for correctness) so I ended up cramming the homework solutions before the exam. When the test question came out and was way more complicated than the homework, I suspect that some people who have studied more got stuck because these are not like the problems that they’ve been practicing with. In my case though, since I don’t know the usual problems that well, I am always able to go back to the basics (cuz that’s pretty much all I have) and reason from there. I also happen to be someone that’s really good at getting partial credits… so yeah, with a generous curve (because nobody knows what’s going on) and a flexible mindset (due to not studying enough), I managed to walk away with an A, but I admit, I don’t remember much from the class, and neither do most of the class. So I’d say that class was quite a failure.

    On November 25th, 2007 at 4:29 pm, Waqar said:

    Powernaps really help me as long as they are no longer than 30 minutes and taken before 2pm in the afternoon, otherwise, it becomes difficult to get any sleep at night.

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