Go ahead, take that nap. In fact, your boss says it’s okay*
All right, that last sentence may have been a stretch. But, if we all did in fact take a wee little cat nap around 2 pm during our work day, we would indeed be more productive than if not. Don’t believe us? Check out this great article from the American Psychology Association (hyperlink: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/07-08/naps.aspx). The findings are pretty clear that taking a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon can have several benefits including problem-solving skills, increased creativity and enhanced learning.
Remember when you were young, i.e. a baby/toddler and you gave your parents the run around when it came time to nap? Well in fact, those naps they forced you to take were vital in creating essential brain functions and learning. Sleeping is the body’s natural answer to revitalizing the brain, body and of course, the soul. And even those short naps under 30 minutes are said to have a multitude of benefits for adults as old as 50. And if you are a parent of a little one, you have probably already learned – sleep begets sleep. Meaning, naps will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer at nighttime.
What is perhaps hardest in today’s society is that adults are all abuzz with their emails, their social calendar, the kids, the play dates, movie night, cooking class…and looming work deadlines. They can’t imagine shutting down for 20 whole minutes to re-power their brain. Yet, the simple act of doing so, could turn your exhaustive day into a productive one – one where you feel more rested, more alert and ready to face the next challenge.
More importantly, sleeping in small spurts helps rewire those neuro pathways in your brain. The ones that help navigate your daily life in a seamless way. For instance, you have just driven to your local grocery store and as you are about to get out the car, you realize you don’t actually remember driving there. No, it’s not sporadic amnesia. Those are your neuro pathways taking care of you, allowing you to act on auto-pilot. Here’s the thing though, the neuro pathways constantly need recharging in order to keep you evolving as a human. So again, those power naps or 20-minutes of sleep in the afternoon can work wonders.
In short, your boss may or may not support your sleep decisions. And we wouldn’t recommend taking a pillow into work (unless the company you work for is in the sleep business, wink wink). But taking those 20 minutes daily, even on the weekends, could potentially open your mind to wonderful new discoveries. It never hurts to try!
Wendy Hamacher, Portland, OR.
Mom, wife, world-traveler, blogger and word lover.