Apr 3, 2008

Napping, especially on the job, may have benefits but remains controversial

The issue of napping on the job is almost always controversial. Some sleep experts extoll the benefits of a nap, while others say it interferes with getting quality primary sleep. Of course the (understandable) management aversion to paying people who are sleeping is a significant hurdle to overcome. And the cultural taboos around napping -- nappers are lazy, etc. -- are often an issue too.

I am not a sleep expert but I'll tell you I use naps as a fatigue countermeasure and I think it helps. I'm VERY conscious of not napping too long out of concern for not being able to sleep in bed later. But, all things considered, I use napping, and recommend them to others, on or off the job. And, when I was Managing Director at Circadian Information, I can tell you that we had a napping room in our offices which I made use of from time to time.

One of the many shiftwork consultants out there, Shiftwork Solutions, posted a note to their blog today also citing the benefits of napping, and particularly napping on the job. They calculate that a 15 minute nap only needs to improve productivity by 4.5% to be worthwhile. Ultimately, I think most managers are going to permit napping on the job based on a gut instinct, but I think having some numerical back up may help some. Check out the blog post, "I need a nap!" -- It's time to sleep on shift.

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