Naps are most typically thought of as being beneficial for young children and the elderly, there’s a lot of judgment around napping for working professionals and adults in general. It is often seen as being lazy, unproductive and way too indulgent to be allowed. Thankfully, there is proof in many cultures and more recently in large corporations that most everyone can benefit from taking a short nap during the day. It’s an important development in our society that has historically been focused on “go, go, go” and “more, more, more”.
Ciesta, Riposo, or a Power Nap is a global practice of mid-day rest. While not common in North America, mid-day naps have been growing in popularity amongst some of the largest companies in the world, including Google, Facebook, Uber, Huffington Post, and even Ben & Jerry’s. They have seen the positive data from countless sleep studies and have found ways to facilitate mediation and naps for their employees, including providing designated nap rooms or pods for their employees to rest during their breaks. A shift we are seeing and now practicing from is that we humans are not machines in factories that simply exist to produce. Our brains actually require breaks to recharge and are noticeably more productive after this much needed charge-up.
Benefits of a mid-day rest:
If you’re not yet convinced, or need some data to back you up, you’re in luck, napping and sleep have been researched extensively and show a resounding outcome of improvements in individuals’ physical and mental health. Below are a few of the major benefits that have been observed, with links to their studies:
Tips on taking a nap:
Take short naps to reduce the chances of feeling groggy once you awake. Between 10-30 mins was determined to be most recuperative for an individual in a study by Brooks, A., & Lack, L. (2006).
Take your nap before 2 pm. As reported by the Sleep Foundation, napping earlier in the day was recommended by most sleep experts. As it was shown to have little impact on your ability to fall asleep at a reasonable time later that night.
Nap in a dark room or wear an eye mask. Blocking out light helps you fall asleep faster as it mimics typical sleeping conditions.
Make sure to cozy in. Your body temperature will drop as soon as you begin a nap, so grab a blanket and stay warm!
So let go of the guilt and go for a nap! Your mind and body will thank you for it. Oh yes, and your work quality and output will likely improve with this benefit of a sharpened focus too!