But the truth is there's growing evidence that a well-timed nap can do more to enhance your productivity than all the double-shot espressos Starbucks has to offer.
Today, Lifehacker excerpted new science news that found that deep, "slow-wave" sleep can help us commit information to memory and learn new skills. Study participants enjoyed a 90-minute nap, but according to the AP story, even a 12-minute nap can boost some forms of memory.
Earlier this year, Psychology Today reported that a power nap of about 20 minutes has been proven to increase alertness and overall productivity in workers, as well as boosting mood. A NASA study found that naps of just 26 minutes can boost workers' output by as much as 34 percent. And a study of ER doctors and nurses found that 40-minute naps resulted in better alertness, mood, and performance.
So why aren't we all allowed -- heck, encouraged -- to nap on the job? Mostly because employers don't believe they should pay workers to sleep. But if you consider the return on investment for a power snooze versus a lunch, coffee, or cigarette break, it seems like a bargain.
If you want to experiment with a power nap, don't just doze off; plan on how to take the perfect snooze. Some of the basics:
- Time it for between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM. (other experts say 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM).
- Don't sleep for more than 30 minutes (set an alarm). Otherwise, you could sleep for hours or wake with a headache and a bad mood.
- Drink a cool glass of water when you wake to clear your head.
I'd point you in the right direction, but I think I'll go hit the hay instead. All this nap talk is making me sleepy.