9 Indisputable Reasons Offices Need Naptime
August 15, 2012
Naps are awesome. Anyone who disagrees with this is probably embroiled in some sort of mysterious and sexy conspiracy with the caffeine industry and should never be trusted. Falling asleep at work has long received quite the negative PR as a habit exclusive to the incompetent and lazy, but studies prove quite the opposite. Resting between 10 to 30 minutes at different points during the day actually provides brain and body alike with an impressive array of amazing benefits. While taking a nap in the office has yet to completely catch on as a workplace necessity, some of the world’s most successful corporations have started allowing employees to count a herd of sheep in special rooms in order to reap the aforementioned rewards — much to the delight of everyone on the payroll, we’re sure. Hopefully, the fringe trend will eventually swell into the norm and allow workers the world over to enjoy and thrive to the fullest at their jobs.
- Sleep bolsters creativity:By up to 33%, according to research conducted at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital! Sleep, as more and more scientists have come to discover, is far from the passive activity so many assume. In fact, rest makes for one of the best ways for the mind to reset and rejuvenate itself, and the very same studies noted that it allows for workers to forge more innovative connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. Both technological and creative industries can definitely benefit from this little perk!
- Oh, and cognition and memory, too:Both, of course, valuable skills in most workplaces. Giving the brain enough rest means not only more creative employees, but more creative employees who process their innovations faster and actually remember them longer than those without sufficient sleep. For those interested in the neuroscience behind the phenomenon, healthy amounts of rest strengthen the plasticity in key areas of the brain.
- Cuts back on stress:Stress isn’t very good. It places strain on the body and mind alike, leading to all sorts of nasty little physical and mental health issues. Employees in high-pressure industries could especially use 15 minutes (provided they aren’t in the middle of something critical, obviously) to reset themselves. If the anxiety continues building, it could lead to distracted disasters far more fiscally detrimental than letting Bob or Margaret catch a Z or two in the break room. Plus, a decompressed individual is more likely to also be an individual whose crankiness doesn’t create a black hole of despair in the middle of the work day. So there’s that.
- Promotes general health and wellness:Even beyond stress, sufficient sleep leads to overall improved health and happiness, and journals and universities overflow with articles linking poor slumbering habits to heart disease, strokes, depression, and other horrible medical conditions. Employers concerned about keeping workers feeling their best might want to consider practicing a little flexibility when it comes to naptime. After all, if they fall sick as a result of throwing themselves a little too heartily into their assignments, that means the company ends up paying for it. Either through insurance or losing them to days off recuperating. Naptime: It’s cost-effective!
- Can’t ignore that circadian rhythm:If Chiffon Margarine commercials have taught us anything — and, of course, they’ve taught us EVERYTHING — it’s that Mother Nature doesn’t think fooling her is very nice. The circadian rhythm controls an individual’s sleep patterns, and throwing it off too much could lead to the aforementioned health problems. While everyone’s rhythm obviously contains variants unique to their body’s wiring, external factors such as lighting levels and proximity to digital screens can throw it off, so those cheap fluorescent bulbs probably aren’t doing any more favors for the work force’s sleeping patterns than they are for its collective complexion. So, basically, withholding naptime means thumbing your nose at nature itself! Well, OK, that’s actually a pretty hyberbolic statement, but healthier offices that can afford the flexibility might want to consider letting employees get things done as their bodies intend. Provided they don’t go overboard and abuse the privilege, of course.
- Increased productivity:With all those physically and mentally alert employees running around, that usually means a direct spike in productivity. Kodiak Capital, NASA, Google, AOL, and Huffington Post all provide their hard-working staffers with rooms or pods specially designed for optimum naptime action. Nobody can accuse these companies of slacking off, and their success may very well stem from understanding and catering to natural sleep cycles. However, it seems like startups and technology (or technology-dependent) industries stand as the most likely to embrace sleeping on the job.
- Chances are, most employees aren’t getting enough sleep anyway:Generally, the human body needs around eight hours of sleep a night to perform at peak condition. But according to at least one study cited by ABC, most American adults only enjoy around 6.5 if they’re lucky. Everyone’s circadian rhythm is different, of course, but odds are high that at least one or two employees just aren’t sleeping well. While 15-to-20-minute naps won’t exactly make up for this deficit completely, sleep-hungry workers are sure to appreciate the refreshing gesture.
- Increases employee retention:Hiring and firing proves a nightmare flurry of paperwork and expended time, so anything to keep the troops in place will probably make the HR director quite happy indeed. The healthiest and happiest employees are the most likely to stick around and nurture a not-so-hostile work environment, while their stressed-out counterparts run the risk of causing issues or falling victim to distraction. Harried workers call in sick more often, which could easily cause them to fall further behind and piles on the anxieties. Isn’t it easier to just let them nap rather than deal with the whole hassle of finding a replacement? (Yes)
- Kindergartners get it, and they’re endless founts of energy:Seriously. Anyone with even two seconds of experience with a 5-year-old knows that even without a half-dozen Pixie Stix swirling around their system, they’re squiggly little scamps. If humans slow down and tire with age, why do they get to enjoy the magic of naptime, huh? It makes more sense to leave that perk to adults!