How Naps Can Make Your Teams More Productive
Sleep deprivation is an epidemic in modern society. Too many rely on midday caffeine rituals to help stay alert. Over time, lack of adequate sleep can result in decreased immunity and serious medical conditions. Taking a cue from our younger selves by partaking in an afternoon nap might be the solution to the problem. Keep reading to learn more about the power of napping at work and its effect on employee productivity, happiness, and health.
You are Feeling Sleepy
Sleep deprivation causes memory and cognitive impairment, increased stress, low performance and quality life, and increased risk of injury. It also costs businesses $63 billion per year. Organizations large and small have recognized the positive power of sleep on productivity, absenteeism, and job satisfaction. Companies like Google, HubSpot, and Zappos have created nap rooms to encourage team members to catch a few ZZZ’s during the day.
Why is sleep so important? During sleep, the brain removes toxic proteins that build up during the day. This removal process only happens during sleep. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Less than half get the minimum of seven hours. Prolonged sleep deprivation is linked to serious health conditions including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It will also speed up the aging process thanks to increased cortisol (a stress hormone) production.
While napping will not completely reverse the effects of poor sleep habits, it can help increase alertness, focus, and mood. Regular naps can decrease the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, including heart attack. A 2008 study shows that naps are more powerful than caffeine. A separate study by NASA found that a 26 minute nap provided 34% increase in productivity and 54% increase in alertness.
Naps taken between 1pm and 3pm work with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Twenty minutes is enough to restore focus and productivity. Napping longer than 30 minutes has negative effects of increased grogginess due to the body moving in to deeper sleep.
Encouraging naps at work requires a cultural shift. The most successful organizations lead by example, with the CEO and management openly using the nap rooms as needed or before important meetings or presentations. If team members are meeting expectations, completing their tasks on time, and not abusing the privilege, use of the nap room should be judgement-free.
Nap rooms do not need to be elaborate. HubSpot has hammocks in a darkened room. Connecticut-based Yarde Metals has recliners and couches. Google has special nap pods that have soothing music and gently wake the napper with lights and vibration.
Sleep is important for all aspects of health and wellbeing. A well rested organization is happy, healthier and more productive.
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