“All work and no play or at least, sleep, makes Jack a dull boy.” The concept of napping during work hours has gained momentum in recent years with companies like Google dedicating nap spaces in their office for workers, and it now has the medical tick of approval with doctors believing a mid-work nap could be the productivity pick-me-up we all need.
Dr. Daniel Barone of New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center is in full support of the daytime work nap. “A short nap can definitely help improve alertness, productivity, and even overall happiness in a worker,” he said to Thrillist.
According to Barone, there have been a lot of studies, including one by NASA, that suggest a 40-minute nap improved alertness in astronauts by a substantial amount. A recent study in France also showed that after a night of sleep deprivation, people get an inflammatory response, but a quick nap the next day actually reduced that inflammatory response, so it’s beneficial not only regarding how we feel but also what’s going on inside the body.
But what is the best time of day to curl up under your desk for a snooze? “Our bodies have what’s called a circadian rhythm. Normally, after lunchtime, our energy levels dip naturally. That would be the best time to have a nap…Usually, the early afternoon is the best time for a quick nap,” says Barone. ‘Quick’ being the operative word. Dr. Barone recommends napping for 20-30 minutes only, as it’s just enough time to avoid sleep inertia or that groggy feeling. Nap for too long, though, and you’ll enter REM level 3 sleep and won’t be able to sleep when it’s actually bedtime.
So there you have it. Along with lunch breaks and annual leave, mandatory mid-work naptime is on the perks horizon.