Use a Nap to Improve Your Work Productivity
Guest post by Samantha Kent:
Naps are often seen as a sign of weakness, of slacking off while the rest of the world keeps pushing forward.
Cultural norms and perceptions aside, if you’re not getting a full seven hours of sleep at night, a nap can work wonders to keep your work productivity on track.
Fighting Sleep Deprivation
The average adult needs seven to eight full hours of sleep yet the 2010 census statistics show that 35 percent of adults report getting less than seven hours on a regular basis. A lack of sleep can’t help but impact work performance.
During sleep deprivation (any time you get less than seven hours of sleep), neurons in the brain slow down, affecting decision-making skills, reasoning abilities, and reaction times.
The ability to concentrate, focus, and stay on task goes down the more tired you get. The brain isn’t capable of performing at peak efficiency without adequate sleep.
The chronically sleep deprived are more at risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. The effects of sleep deprivation work against your ability to perform your best on the job.
Using Naps to Improve Productivity
Long hours, family responsibilities, and a fast-paced lifestyle make falling into sleep deprivation far too common. In a 2008 poll taken by the National Sleep Foundation, 28 percent of respondents reported that sleepiness interfered with their productivity.
Traditionally, naps have been considered a habit for children, but, today, employees are working more hours than ever in a culture doused in information overload.
There’s a growing body of evidence showing that those who take a short nap to counteract sleep loss outperform their colleagues who push through their afternoon sleepiness.
Participants in a study published in Nature Neuroscience were divided into groups that either took no nap, a 30-minute nap, or a 60-minute nap. Test scores went down the later in the day the test was taken. After being tested four times a day, participants who napped for 30 minutes stopped their decline in test performance.
Participants who slept for 60 minutes actually improved their scores. A 20 to 60-minute nap gives just enough time to enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep where the brain restores itself and makes creative connections.
Make Sleep a Priority
Naps help you catch up on sleep, but it’s better not to get behind. A full seven hours of sleep lets your body work at its best. If you struggle to sleep at night try:
- A Bedtime Routine: Bedtime routines help relieve stress or tension built up throughout the day. They also signal the brain to release sleep hormones.
- Skipping Afternoon Caffeine: Caffeine blocks the release of sleep hormones. Start avoiding it in the early afternoon to prevent sleep problems.
- Keeping a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every night to establish a strong, healthy sleep-wake cycle. Your body will become acclimated to your sleep schedule, which can help you fall asleep easier at night.
- Getting Comfortable: A quality mattress that supports your preferred sleep position can help prevent aches and pains from interfering with your sleep. If you need a new one, check reviews to find the best mattresses for the price you want to pay. Also, try keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
Samantha (Sam) Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.
LIKE my Facebook page and get useful updates about health, wellness and staying fit!