Thursday 22 March 2018

It's time we woke up to the joy of power napping

Want to be more dynamic, efficient and go getting? Then close your eyes at lunchtime and have a nice nap. There is, apparently, overwhelming scientific evidence that it will give you a major boost.

Of course we're not talking about putting up a hammock by the water dispenser. . . though it would be great if one could get away with it. But if a colleague asks you why you're dozing instead of, say, hot footing it out the door to buy a Snickers, quote Psychology Today at him.

That influential American magazine recently ran an article called Nap Your Way To The Top and claimed that naps of about 20 minutes increase productivity and alertness. They also improve your mood which is something we could all do with these days.

Experts point out that napping is far better at pepping you up than large doses of caffeine. And of course it's far healthier. So now that you are at least partly convinced let's get the terminology right.


These naps are power naps. Toss that term firmly at anyone who wonders why you have your feet up at your desk and are, perhaps, wrapped in a nice cosy blanket. And if your boss is unimpressed tell him or her that in high-flying Japan dozing is acceptable anywhere, from parliament to business meetings.

However, strict rules apply to it in the workplace. Only those low down or high up a Japanese company are allowed to doze on the job. They also need to remain upright. This shows that they are still sort of socially engaged.

Here I should admit that when I worked for RTE I regularly went to the TV centre during lunchtime and had a nice snooze when I found an empty dressing room. These are usually used by guests, including many a celebrity. So there was always the possibility that, say, Julio Iglesias, might march in while I was taking my restorative mini-break.

Of course if an EnergyPod had been handy that would have been fabulous. They are comfortable small sleep pods that provide semi-privacy without being 'overly enclosing'.

The marketing info claims that a 'built-in music player with headphone jack helps eliminate surrounding distractions'. And a 'timer found in the arm rest prevents overnapping and wakes the user gently with a combination of lights and vibration'.

The pods are made by a company called MetroNaps which is based in the Empire State Building in New York and specialises in 'fatigue risk management'. Apparently many companies have turned to it for 'fatigue solutions' including Procter & Gamble, Cisco and Google. MetroNaps employees can be fired for not taking siestas.

"We used to see people falling asleep in meetings or at their desks or sneaking off to parked cars," said Christopher Lindholst, who founded MetroNaps in 2004 with Arshad Chowdhury, an ex-banker. "Arshad used to see people going to the washroom and taking naps on the toilet."

There's even a book called The Art of Napping at Work and its co-author, William Anthony, has found that women report more fear of this wonderful new trend. Ladies please wise up! Power napping is cool. Even if you don't fall asleep during your nap just closing your eyes for a while will help to restore you. So make a 'Do Not Disturb Power Nap In Progress' sign and use it.

It's a trend that's sure to catch on if some courageous nappers pave the way.

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