In Spain and other Latin countries, taking an afternoon nap or siesta was a tradition. In warmer climates, it was considered a healthy practice after the intake of food to rest rather than exert the body.
Today, workers know that to maintain productivity, they have to keep an eye on their health. A short afternoon nap – not unlike the well-known siesta – can go a long way to help professionals to recharge and increase their overall effectiveness.
Fiona Kerr, the neural specialist from the University of Adelaide, recently told the UKs Daily Mail in an interview, “There’s really interesting work done on not only taking a nap, but the length of naps. “The best nap is really the 15-30 minute nap. It increases alertness, memory, cognition and mood.”
For peak performance, Kerr insists that practice makes perfect.
Kerr suggests going to a quiet, dark place and eliminating noise and distractions. “Relax for the 20 minutes and concentrate on your breathing,” she said.
The trend of corporate napping seems to be regaining momentum. French think-tank Terra Nova suggested that businesses in France should encourage members of their staff to take a 15-20 minute nap after lunch because of the potential increase of productivity.
According to the Telegraph, 20% of Britain’s workers tend to doze while they are in front of their computer screens after having eaten lunch.
One of the authors of the Terra Nova report, Dir. Jean-Pierre Giordanella, encouraged training human resources managers to see naps as “way of better dividing up the day into phases of activity and rest” rather than a “laziness perk” or something only for idlers.
With so many workers functioning on too-little sleep, Giordanella suggests a 15-minute nap. If that means leaving work 15 minutes later to compensate for active work time, so be it.
Dr. Giordanella also says that such practices like turning off the lights and reducing noise can go a long way toward helping workers feel refreshed. The practice can also reduce absenteeism.
Worker productivity and health are intimately and inextricably related. Today’s employees work as hard as they did in the past but studies show that their work is done on far less sleep than ever. Add that almost everyone is digitally connected 24 hours a day – even to their office, it can leave them feeling stressed and overworked. While a short afternoon nap may not be the answer for every employee or every company, the idea is worth investigation.
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