5 Tips for Napping on the Job

By Yuki Hayashi

Forty percent of American adults get less than seven hours of each night. According to the National Institutes of Health, most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Insufficient sleep is linked to chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and depression. Sleep deprivation is also a public safety issue, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since it can lead to vehicle crashes, industrial accidents and medical errors and other workplace accidents.

For those who have difficulty getting their allotted Zzz’s, it can be helpful to sneak sleep wherever you can find it. In some cases that may be during your workday. In the absence of a workplace nap room or sweet pod-hotel set-up, here are for smart on – or en route to – your job.

Nap tip 1: Keep ’em short

Think: power naps. Extended naps can lead to grogginess afterwards – or disturb your sleep at night. Ten to 30 minutes is ideal, according to the Mayo Clinic. A shorter nap is more likely to with your workday, too. Use your phone to keep tabs on your naptime… and resist the urge to hit snooze!

Nap tip 2: Add sleep-time to your commute.

Although sleep experts say the best time to nap is during the mid-afternoon slump many of us experience around 2 or 3 p.m., if you’re sleepy during your morning commute by public transit, a cat nap may be an option.

For safety, avoid napping in a particularly empty, or extra-crowded, subway car, train or bus. To take advantage of the commute nap, it’s best to travel with a commuting buddy who’ll watch your back, and belongings.

Nap tip 3: Nap in your (parked) car

For shift workers or those juggling multiple jobs, a car nap may be more efficient than going home to sleep between shifts. Your car is also a private place to nap during your lunch break.

Always prioritize your personal safety by parking in a busy, public spot. Supermarkets, hospital lots and other bustling spots are best. At work, consider moving to the far end of the lot, to avoid possible interruptions by coworkers.

Nap tip 4: Catch a few winks in your office

If you’re lucky enough to have your own office, close the blinds, lock the door, and have at it. A flat pillow provides a nice surface for an at-desk face plant. Or stretch out on the floor on a yoga mat.

If you don’t have your own office, leave a note at your desk alluding to a quick offsite errand, and book a small meeting room to doze off during your coffee break. Bring paperwork with you, so that if someone walks in, you’ll look like you nodded off while working.

Nap tip 5: Don’t over do it.

Naps are a great way to regain energy during the workday, but it’s important not to abuse them. Resist the urge to sleep for more than 30 minutes. According to an Australian study published in the journal Sleep, you’ll wake feeling groggy and it will take longer to regain the alertness you’d have after a minimalist 10-minute nap.

Tags:  Napping Sleep Tips Work

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