Try Sleeping on the Job!

Yawn…it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and you are writing a report about your most important project . You’ve been at work since 8, grabbed a sandwich for lunch, and your last meeting runs until 6.30. Suddenly your eyes start closing. If only you could take a break! Resisting the temptation, you make a quick trip to one of the office coffee machines.  A jolt of caffeine will get you through! Now, back to that report…

Does that sound like you? You know that managing your energy lows with caffeine or sugar, day after day is not ideal, but what other choice do you have? You can’t just go to sleep at work. Well, actually, you can! Napping at work is becoming more accepted, and it’s easier than you think. All you need is a quiet place and as little as 15 minutes.

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Good Enough for Pilots

Military pilots have been allowed to take naps (or ‘Officer Rest Periods’) for decades. Some commercial airlines allow it too. Energy guru Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project recommends naps for managing fatigue, improving performance and getting through our increasingly long and draining days. Schwartz says that even as little as 10 minutes helps. Executive performance experts Tignum recommend naps of 20 minutes or less to increase energy and improve the performance of very senior executives.

 Executive performance and energy experts recommend naps of as little as 20 minutes to increase your energy and maintain top performance at work

 Nifty Napping Tips

How do you do it? Physically, you need a quiet place where you can lie down comfortably. That could be a couch, or even a spot on the floor (use a blanket or yoga mat if you don’t want to be directly on the floor). No place to lie down? Try one of the donut-shaped pillows people use on airplanes. Set your phone to wake you after 15 or 20 minutes.

Turn out the lights if you can, or put a towel over your closed eyes, and start to breathe deeply. Let the nap come. Sleeping soundtracks from Napsounds or similar services are designed to relax you and then wake you up using music and voices – no phone alarm needed.   You will wake up refreshed, relaxed, and ready to go.

                 Pillows, eye masks and sleeping soundtracks help you nap effectively

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Your office mates might look askance the first few times. That’s OK, stick with it. I once napped without warning a colleague, and she thought I had passed out in the office!  A little embarrassing when she called the emergency service, but we had a good laugh over it. But after a 20-minute nap I had as much energy at 3.30 than I did at 9:00, day after day. I had more energy at work, and less stress, and it showed in my performance.

So the next time your eyes start closing at work, don’t reach for a coffee…reach for a pillow and take that nap!

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Image credits.

Main.  Nap.     Napping .   Desk Nap.

Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.