The short answer: Yes, as long as you keep your nap on the shorter side.
Whenever you have a technical glitch with your computer, IT workers recommend a tried-and-true fix: power down and reboot. This same method may help people, too. As kids, you might have thrown tantrums to delay nap time. As adults at work, you’d probably kill for a corporate-sanctioned nap break—so maybe it's time to tell your boss how midday naps can help boost your productivity from 9 to 5.
Will Midday Naps Increase Your Productivity?
Napping during the workday has always been desirable to adults. However, the desire has only grown throughout the pandemic. This is due to a variety of factors, such as:
- Increased screen time
- Uncertainty about the future
- Stress about the state of the world
- Health concerns
To be honest, few adults get a restful night’s sleep as it is. Even if you are getting a solid 8 hours of sleep a night, you still might feel a crash coming on at 2 p.m. It’s no wonder apps, like Calm, have delved into sleep stories for adults, and there’s even a section on the app just for helping with naps.
Sleep.org notes that when it comes to nap culture, it’s just another area in which the U.S. has fallen behind—generationally. Researchers link the Spanish siesta, the Italian riposo, the Japanese inemuri to higher cognitive function, decreased stress, improved immune systems, and reduced mortality from heart disease.
Higher Cognitive Function Can Lead to Improved Productivity at Work
When you’re sleepy, it can be hard to focus on complex tasks that require a lot of creativity or concentration. After a nap, you might be able to think more clearly or with better focus.
Plus, decreasing stress can also help with your productivity. Under stress, you might feel distracted or frazzled. You might miss small details or make silly mistakes. (Researchers even have a name for this: “monkey brain.”) Taking a nap may help reduce this stress and get you back to a better mindset.
So American companies, take notice: Allowing for napping can boost the quantity and quality of your production. In addition to seven to nine hours a night, daytime naps are welcome and facilitated in the largest grossing global tech, consulting, media, retail brands, (and even government agencies). They say time is money, but spending a few minutes on yourself is good for everyone’s bottom line.
The Art of Napping
The general consensus about midday naps is that they’re only beneficial for recharging energy when you keep them short. Ideally, 10 to 20 minutes can give you just enough rest to avoid grogginess or messing with your sleep routine. If you take a three-hour nap in the middle of the day, you’re likely to have trouble falling asleep later that night. This may make you feel even more tired tomorrow, and you may get stuck in a cycle of long naps and sleepless nights.
Whether you’re napping for enjoyment, to recover from a sleepless night, or to rest your overworked brain, there’s no doubt that your body (and work performance) may benefit. If your nap habit is getting in the way of your ability to function as usual, ask your doctor about tests you can take to address your fatigue.
- Sleep Guidelines During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Seattle, WA: Sleep Foundation, 2021. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- Napping. Seattle, WA: Sleep Foundation, 2020. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- The Science of Naps. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2016. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- Challenging the stigma of workplace napping. Oxford Academic University Press, 2019. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- How the World Naps. Sleep.org, 2021. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- Ask an Expert: How do you get sleep in the midst of a pandemic? Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, 2020. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. Waltham, MA: UpToDate, 2021. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)
- Idiopathic hypersomnia. Waltham, MA: UpToDate, 2019. (Accessed on May 19, 2021)