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Napping At The Workplace Essay

1302 words - 6 pages

It creeps around in the early morning cubical shadows like a ninja, then right around two-thirty p.m., it catapults up in front of us with the force of a concrete slab. “It”, is the all too familiar and relentless urge to take an afternoon nap. Some choose to open up their arsenal of energy drinks, coffee, and candy bars. Others use self torture tactics like bright light in the face, sitting in an awkward position, or even slapping themselves. The idea of taking a nap is draped in stigma. Napping is for the very young, or the very old. Napping is for the sick, the weak and the lazy. Even news story headlines promote scandal when company employees are caught napping on the job. And, let's not forget what our bosses might think if they caught us with our heads on our desks taking a little siesta! Despite all the reasons given for a nap not being warranted, it is actually a natural part of the human bodies programming. Studies have shown that our bodies were not designed for the common 9-to-5 schedule. One such research project took a group of people who were given food on a consistent schedule, yet all references to time, like clocks and light, were taken away. Even without the ability to tell time, the greatest number still fell asleep between 1 a.m. - 4 p.m. and again at 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. These two time ranges are natural cycles in our biological clocks, called circadian rhythms, which cause a dip in our core body temperature accompanied by sleepiness (Sandberg). Many hours are wasted trying to dodge the need for a nap as people wage a battle against their own bodies. Instead, companies should embrace the natural body cycle and integrate napping into the workplace. Allowing employees to take a twenty to thirty minute nap during work hours increases productivity, decreases health issues, and serves as a low cost, high yield benefit for employers to offer.
After a twenty to thirty minute nap, studies have shown that people are better able to learn new information, enjoy a boost of creativity, and are more pleasant to be around. Cultivating these attributes can only help to increase productivity and the quality of work versus a stagnant office full of caffeinated monitor zombies. A recent study by neuroscience researchers from Georgetown University
examined the mental spark in the brain hemisphere associated with creativity. They found a significant increase in brain activity while the individuals were resting (Gardner). NASA has also conducted an in depth study that shows performance increases of 34 precent after only 26 minutes of napping. Nappers "demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the No-Rest Group." (Rosekind et al. 4). What these and many other studies are showing is that naps can restore our attention and the quality of our work, while also helping us reduce our mistakes. Moreover, they can improve our ability to learn while on the job and the effects last for...

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