It can go without saying that most employers frown upon their workers sleeping while on duty. Depending upon the workplace, sleeping on the job can be downright dangerous. Most people would be upset if they saw a drowsy security guard, taxi driver or nurse taking a snooze at their work station.
With that said, there is something to be said for planned power naps while at work. In fact, to emphasize the importance of power naps to improve worker productivity, William and Camille Anthony started “Workplace Napping Day” in 1999. It will be held on March 11, 2013 and is an annual event that occurs every Monday following the start of Daylight Savings Time. While only an hour is lost due to Daylight Savings Time, the real point of this commemorative day is to address the concerns brought about from sleep deprivation.
Employers who promote wellness at work would be wise to emphasize the importance of sleep to their employees. An unfortunate cycle exists between workplace stress and sleep deprivation. Stress can cause loss of sleep and loss of sleep can lead to tension at work. Sleep loss can cause other health problems, such as mood disorders, heart disease, impaired judgment and increased accidents.
No one is disputing the necessity of a good night’s sleep, but a twenty minute power nap during the work day may be all that is needed to relieve workplace doldrums. Short naps can give the system a much needed boost, improving alertness and motor functioning. Research at NASA has shown that a 26 minute power nap can boost performance by 34 percent, increasing the ability to multi-task during complex work. However, naps longer than 30 minutes may cause a person to wake up feeling groggy and hamper task performance.
Power naps may not be for everyone. If an employer is noticing a major slowdown from workers at the end of the work day, implementing a policy allowing break time napping should be considered. Likewise, if a person is feeling excessive fatigue at the end of the work day, especially at the risk of falling asleep on the drive home, a power nap may be a viable solution.