Now we know what you’re thinking. Taking a nap at work? What’s the point? Workplace napping is actually a lot more of an effective productivity strategy than you might think. Taking naps at work forces employees to slow down and let their brains and bodies recuperate during short breaks before getting back to work again. Otherwise, they might just spend their breaks staring at their phones, which doesn’t actually help them relax.
Naps help boost energy and can give you the motivation you might need to continue working through the afternoon as efficiently as you might earlier in the day. There are ways to do this effectively, so you don’t end up completely passed out on top of your computer keyboard and miss your important afternoon meetings.
Here is the best nap length for an office snooze, and how to make the most of your nap time to get that energy boost you’re going to need today.
What is a power nap?
Humans divide their days between sleeping time and time being awake, instead of sleeping in small intervals throughout the day like other mammals. However, in some cultures, taking naps is completely normal. In terms of energy levels, ideally, we should all sleep when we are tired regardless of the time of day.
Experts claim that napping could be considered a completely normal part of many human cultures. Some work environments are adapting to a more nap-friendly culture, which only makes sense: hard work makes everyone tired, especially performing jobs which require you to be fully present and alert from start to finish.
Yes, it is completely okay to take a short power nap at work, as long as you wake up and continue to get things done after the fact, but how long is a short power nap, exactly? How short is too short? How long is too long?
How long should you nap?
We would all love to be able to nap whenever we wanted, for however long we wanted, but this just isn’t possible or wise. Because a nap should be quick yet effective in boosting your energy levels to get you through the rest of the day, you will want to be strategic about how long you let yourself nap while you are at work.
Taking between a 10 and 20 minute power nap if you are going to nap at any point throughout the work day is the length that the experts recommend. This length is long enough that it restores the energy you will need to get through the remainder of the day, but short enough that you can nap during a coffee or lunch break without drawing too much attention to yourself.
Napping really does help boost our energy because it forces us to remove ourselves from the stress and busyness of work for a very short amount of time. Being busy is fine, as you know, as long as you are still taking time for yourself to rest and regain the energy you spent doing your job well.
Tips for effective napping at work
Napping while you are at work isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. There are a few things you should keep in mind before you decide when and where to take a nap while you are at your desk or in your office.
Don’t nap for longer than 30 minutes at a time. There are downsides to napping, one of them being sleep inertia, characterized by grogginess and disorientation when trying to wake up after sleeping. This is why experts recommend you keep your naps short, so that this is less likely to occur.
Make it a regular ordeal. At first, it’s going to be hard to fall asleep quickly and hard to wake up again. Your body and mind won’t ever get used to it if you don’t let yourself do it on a regular basis. To get the most out of your naps, you will need to train yourself to fall asleep as quickly as possible, so the majority of your maximum 20 minutes is spent actually sleeping.
Don’t just nap anywhere, anytime. Not every company culture has come to accept regular napping, so simply laying your head down on your desk may not be the best idea for you. If there isn’t a break room, designated napping space or sitting area in your building, head to a local shop or park when you have fifteen minutes to spare.
Nap during your breaks or before you clock in first thing. You don’t want to appear as if you’d rather nap than do your work (even if that is actually the case). Plan your naps strategically. Your supervisors are much less likely to mind if you nap on your own time: after all, when you’re off the clock, it’s your time to do whatever you wish, as long as you’re alert and ready to go by the time you clock back in again.
Get comfortable. Not just physically, but psychologically, too. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for taking a nap. If you’re on a break, there is really no reason why napping shouldn’t be allowed. In the long run, the energy boost you will feel from napping just the right length at work will make you more productive this afternoon and help you get more done even though you spent 10 to 20 minutes sleeping. You would have probably just spent all that time on your phone anyway: this is much more valuable.
There are both right and wrong ways to take naps at work, but once you get the length right and train your brain and body to get used to doing it regularly, you will be in great shape. Taking power naps regularly at work will boost your energy and have the potential to make you more productive. You will think more clearly and won’t unintentionally fall asleep when you’re supposed to be awake and listening.
Don’t let anyone shame you into thinking there’s something wrong with naps. You’re making the right choice. Really.