Are you napping on the job? Maybe you should be!

Late last week I came down with something – food poison, stomach flu…whatever it was, the feeling was a lot like what I imagine getting run over by a train would feel like.

Luckily my schedule for Friday was fairly light and flexible, so I was able to cancel everything and just take a day to relax – that included the opportunity to curl up on the couch at about 3:00 in the afternoon and settle in for a nap.

A nap!  Quiet in the house – just me and the dogs…an honest to goodness nap!

By my estimation, I haven’t taken a nap in probably 5 years or more and although I kind of felt like a kid playing hooky…I have to tell you it felt really good!

I was starting to feel better by then, but I’m convinced that my brief period of downtime did me a world of good.  I generally don’t do a great job of relaxing and ‘turning’ things off, but this really let me just drift away and not worry about anything.

Coincidentally, I ran into this article from the Guardian a couple of days later – The Experts Guide to Napping.  I think I’ve been missing out on something – it turns out that napping is actually really good for you in a lot of ways!

A nap of 60 minutes improves alertness for up to 10 hours. Research on pilots shows that a 26-minute “Nasa” nap in flight (while the plane is manned by a copilot) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. One Harvard study published last year showed that a 45-minute nap improves learning and memory. Napping reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.

Getting even the briefest nap is better than nothing. A 2008 study in Düsseldorf showed that the onset of sleep may trigger active memory processes that remain effective even if sleep is limited to only a few minutes. And last year, a British study suggested that just knowing a nap was coming was enough to lower blood pressure.

Based on my experience, I would strongly agree that a nap is the way to go.

Here’s another resource that was shared by Ryan who’s title is Sleep Ninja… some great napping ideas on here as well: Health Benefits of Napping.

The question is, how do you possibly fit it into your schedule?  I don’t have it figured out yet, but one idea might be to actually set aside some time on my schedule (and most importantly) give myself permission to doze off for 20 – 40 minutes or so.

If that could recharge me and boost my creativity, then it would be a great investment in time.

When’s the last time you took a nap?  Could you fit one into your daily or weekly routine?  Share your thoughts below – I’d love hear them!

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach