How power napping increases productivity on the job and at home

October 13, 2015

Sleeping on the job may seem like a bad idea to your boss until you explain that power napping increases productivity in powerful ways. Read on to find out how power napping increases productivity and how you can integrate it into your life.

How power napping increases productivity on the job and at home

What is a power nap?

  • One of the most powerful studies ever done on the effectiveness of napping tested several different nap times to see which ones were the best at increasing productivity.
  • The study, which was published in the journal Sleep in 2006, found that of the most common intervals of napping — five, 10, 20 and 30 minutes — the 10-minute power nap was by far the most effective.
  • While a five-minute nap produces almost no results and a 30-minute nap actually impairs performance, 10 minutes of shut eye lead to immediate improvements in "sleep latency, subjective sleepiness, fatigue, vigour, and cognitive performance."
  • The 20-minute nap also resulted in performance improvements but the effect was delayed.

Napping at work

  • It's one thing to plop down on the couch at home for a quick siesta and quite another to justify using time at the workplace for catching some Zs, but the research shows that the afternoon is the best time to take a power nap, as it is at this time that concentration fades, fatigue sets in and productivity drops.
  • Grabbing a 10-minute snooze can remedy all of this and allow workers to maintain high performance throughout the rest of the day.
  • In fact, certain high-profile companies have actually installed high-tech power napping stations in their offices, where employees can indulge in napping.

Tips for power napping

  • If power napping on your own, it's a good idea not to get into bed or turn off the lights completely so as not to oversleep the 10 to 20-minute window associated with the most positive effects of power napping.
  • When naps do go over a half an hour, they often have the reverse effect, leaving you tired and groggy.
  • This effect is known as "sleep inertia", which is similar to the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning.
  • Instead, try power napping on the couch or on top of the covers of the bed with your clothes on and in a room that is shady, but not completely dark.
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