Here’s a fun fact. A lot of towns actually stop services in the mid-afternoon, simply to enjoy a midday siesta! This is done by many people for recharge reasons, where people simply take a rest, before getting back to work.
Unfortunately, this trend doesn’t apply to the US, where taking a midday break is considered as a luxury. In the modern day busy environments we work in, taking a midday nap is a sign of laziness and apathy. It’s bound to get you fired, if taken too far.
Yet, for such an unhealthy trend to dominate the US, doesn’t mean that it should be avoided. Going to sleep for an afternoon rest is good for your health, especially since it helps adjust your circadian rhythm (this being your cycle of falling asleep and waking up).
To explain this idea better, you may have noticed that your degree of alertness during the day varies as the day goes on. Your focus may start to severely deteriorate by midday, even if you’ve had a good night sleep. This lack of energy today may not be an issue (considering our highly inactive lifestyles physically), but in the distant past, a drop in attention may have been detrimental to survival.
Thus, if you find yourself investing a lot of effort into a work project, or investing a lot of energy simply to take care of your responsibilities, then you may want to consider midday naps for a good recharge. Do take into consideration that the amount of time you should be napping is not much. It only totals up to 20 minutes at most during the midday. Regardless, those 20 minutes spent for napping may make the difference between a productive or unproductive day.
A few “intelligent” companies have decided to consider napping as part of employee schedules. Those intelligent companies, being none other than Apple and Google, provide employees with the opportunity to rest after lunch for recharging. This is while paying them “top dollar” in order to work at those corporations!
There is a study done in the University of Colorado Boulder which shows the difference between children who nap in the afternoon, and children who do not. Children who did nap in the afternoon presented higher levels of energy and interest, with a massive reduction in anxiety levels. Those children who napped also showed excellent problem solving abilities in comparison to other children. A second study done in Berkeley shows similar improvements in cognitive functioning for adults, who had improved learning and recall capacities.
How long should your naptime be?
Experts see that up to 20 minutes a day in napping is excellent to get a refreshment effect. While 20 minutes doesn’t give you the ability to enter into deep sleep modes, it allows you to wake up with ease, making it less difficult to restart working again. Exceeding 20 minutes for a 30 minute nap may mean that your body may have to deal with some grogginess in functioning, which is a result of deeper sleep levels. This may waste additional time, as your body attempts to recover from the sleep, hampering productivity. The same applies to extensions of 60 and 90 minutes. Now, this doesn’t mean that longer nap times aren’t recommended. They are, but only if the individual doesn’t get enough night sleep, where the full 90 minute sleep cycle may aid in the improvement of memory and mental capacities for heavy intellectual work.
That’s it! Practice napping often, and try to adapt your professional schedule for such rest breaks! They will sure go a long way in improving your productivity.