Have you ever felt yourself getting sleepy on the job? I bet you have! And of course, if you’re like me, you’ll likely have tried to snap yourself out of your drowsy spell by straightening up, taking a deep breath and focusing with intent on the task you almost nodded off doing!
Somehow, there’s some kind of ‘employee’ guilt associated with being tired on the job, even if we’re working for ourselves. The ‘boss’ inside each of us demands we conform to the culture of productivity that turns our crazy world around.
That means being alert, being productive and definitely not napping!
But in fact, recent studies have shown that 30% of workers either fall asleep or become very sleepy at work, with 65% experiencing performance issues. While some employers are embracing the need to rejuvenate on the job, most are not so enlightened.
Well, let me tell you a little secret that those employes don’t know!
Naps are good for business and there’s science to prove it!
New information that enters our brain needs to be consolidated into long-term memory or else we simply forget it. This consolidation happens when we sleep.
But here’s what’s really important and why napping is good for creativity and productivity. When new information enters the brain it is associated with all of the other information we have accumulated and stored there. New connections are formed between all the old stuff we know and the new stuff we’ve just processed.
From here some our best and most original ideas are formed.
While the image of a person jumping out of bed and grabbing a notepad to jot down their latest, greatest idea is something of a cliche, the fact remains that we are doing some of our best work while we are asleep.
Sleep is responsible for great works like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and not so great works like Stephanie Myer’s Twilight!
And have you ever wondered why babies sleep so much? You can bet that the amount of new information to be processed during our early years requires plenty of down time!
However, in our productivity driven, consumption obsessed world sleep is regarded as a weakness. We admire those who can ‘survive’ on 4 hours a night. We consider anybody falling asleep at the 2pm meeting not tired, but lazy.
Because of the negative associations with sleep it will be some time before we’ll see employers listen to the science and provide ‘nap rooms’ for employees. If only they knew how it would improve business!
For those of us lucky enough to be our own bosses and to have the luxury of working at home, the nap room is only a few steps away. It’s time you embraced your mid-morning sleepiness and stopped feeling guilty for taking 30 minutes to recharge your batteries.
After all, you may not be aware of it, but you’re working!