Using short naps to boost productivity

Using short naps to boost productivity

by Evigan Xiao 10 Sep 2017

When Google first started including nap pods in the workplace, people were understandably dumbfounded.

 

“You’re actually making it easier for employees to sleep on the job?”

 

Little did they know that Google has stumbled across a little secret to enhancing workplace productivity – power naps!

 

Today, other companies like Uber and Cisco have begun to follow in Google’s footsteps by relaxing the rules when it comes to sneaking in a quick afternoon snooze. Power naps typically last between 20-30 minutes and have been shown to boost cognitive performance.

 

One of the reasons why napping has been proven to be so effective is that most of us have already accrued a significant sleep debt. Sleep experts typically recommend somewhere between seven to nine hours of rest each night, but how many of us are REALLY committed to that? Napping is the human equivalent of jumpstarting your car’s battery.

 

The other delicious side-effect of napping is its ability to reduce cortisol levels, which in turn keeps your blood sugar levels nice and steady. Having stabilised cortisol levels also has a positive carryover to one’s health as well; food is better metabolised for energy instead of being stored.

 

If anything, the typical post-lunch drowsiness is as good a reason as any to indulge in a power nap. This effect is only amplified by Singapore’s climate. Taking a brief break is a much more pleasant alternative to fighting against (and very often losing to) the feeling of sleepiness. One local enterprising cinema chain has even started to offer nap packages, using its vacant theatres and recliners as a makeshift nap pod.

 

The power nap culture is slowly starting to gain traction, but it might be a while before we see widespread adoption within the workplaces here. Still, there’s nothing to stop one from dropping a gentle suggestion in HR’s inbox, is there?

 

References

Lovato, N. (2010), “The effects of napping on cognitive functioning”, Progressive Brain Research, 185, 155-166

Devine, J. K. & Wolf, J. M. (2016), “Determinants of cortisol awakening responses to naps and nighttime sleep”, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 128-134