How sleeping on the job makes you work better

Ryan Boyd
How sleeping on the job makes you work better

Is it possible that sleeping during the workday makes you get more work done? It sounds counterintuitive, but that’s the verdict of many experts.

As the nine-to-fivers among us know, when the 3pm drowsiness creeps in, attentions get shorter, creativity wanes, and eyes can get heavier.

Most people’s solution is go to the coffee machine or take a quick walk around the block. However, companies like Google and NASA, where accuracy and sharp minds are essential, actively encourage their employees to take power naps.

Why? Because it’s claimed they can:

  •   Improve concentration and alertness

  •   Improve memory recall

  •   Reduce stress levels

  •   Increase stamina

  •   Sharpen motor skills

In an article in the Financial Times, former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Lawrence Epstein says: “The cost of insomnia in the US is estimated to be over $100bn when you add in reduced productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism.

“More and more, we’re seeing how sleep disorders affect work productivity, healthcare costs and workplace accidents.”

And while more traditionalists may take a dim view of napping on the job, it is something employees want. A 2015 survey from mattress provider Casper found that 68% of respondents would nap more often if a dedicated sleep area were available at work.


How to do it

Ideally businesses would invest in sleep pods, specially designed for quick workplace naps, but with the ones Google use going for US$13,000 a pod, it’s hard to imagine too many NZ companies jumping straight in.

What you need is a quiet, dimly lit room with a comfortable chair or couch, and 15-20 minutes’ free time between 1-3pm.

Every workplace is different so if there is nowhere appropriate where you work, you may need to get creative. If you drive to work, you could potentially use your car (or a colleague’s), or if you’re desperate, bring in a pillow and blanket and build your own bed under your desk like George Costanza.

If you can find somewhere appropriate, and you have a boss (or are a boss) that is open to the concept, then why not give it a go and see if it works for you?

Certainly it’s better than nodding off in the middle of a long boring meeting.

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