You may have missed National Napping Day on Monday, March 11 but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of napping for the rest of the year.
According to an article in Asbury Park Press, some employers are even noticing the benefits of naps throughout the day, and are encouraging employees to take a quick snooze once a day to boost productivity.
Even if your employer isn’t quite open to the idea of napping at work yet, some experts do suggest that there are benefits to napping at work or on your own personal time. But there are some napping guidelines to keep in mind as well.
Dr. Nitun Verma, the medical director at Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders, said in an email that in general people should only take one nap maximum per day for at most 30 minutes. Otherwise they could fall into the “over-napping” category, and that could deter them from getting a good night’s sleep.
“[One nap] will be refreshing and energizing, but it protects night sleep,” Verma said. “A reason to limit the length of naps is 'sleep inertia,' where if a nap is too long, you can feel even more tired afterwards.”
He suggested talking to your boss if you’re interested in taking a quick 20-minute nap break at work.
“Try it for a week and see how it goes,” Verma said. “For some this can increase productivity.”
If your boss isn’t keen on the idea of taking a nap at work, there are some alternatives for preventing a crash in the afternoon.
“A sugary lunch can lead to sugar crash sleepiness a few hours later,” he said. “Too large of a lunch hurts too.”
He said some employers are open to napping because “sleepiness limits creativity.”
“While a sleepy person can still do routine tasks, 'out of box' thinking suffers first,” Verma said.
Dr. Joseph Ojile, a spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation and CEO of Clayton Sleep Institute, said in an email that most sleep should be done at night, but it’s acceptable to take a “15-20 minute power nap” to give a boost for the rest of the day.
“People who have serious sleep issues, like insomnia, might make their problems worse by sleeping during the day,” he advised.