What do Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher have in common?
Aside from being world-renowned leaders, they all indulged in afternoon naps.
We usually think of siestas being enjoyed in Mediterranean countries like Spain, where escaping the hot noon sun is sensible. However, increasingly they are being recommended as a work aid. Rather than siestas though, they now have the very American name of “Power naps”.
First, instead of asking why we should incorporate a daytime nap to recharge our batteries for the afternoon, let’s ask why we don’t. Our working day is a product of the Industrial Revolution. From that point in time onwards, people have tried to cram all of their sleep into an eight hour window. The truth is, our natural biology – which predates the Industrial Revolution by about quite a margin – just wasn’t designed to operate this way. We could actually perform better with a little snooze, and evidence shows that taking 40 winks can also reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Power naps really do boost a person’s mood, and many studies suggest they vastly increase their focus. Astonishingly an afternoon nap of 30-90 minutes can leave the brain as equally recharged as eight hours of nightly sleep. And even 15-30 minutes can boost performance.
Work in a creative industry or require your staff to be creative in their roles? Power naps are also thought to positively correlate with an increase in creativity. We’ve all had that drop after lunch when it’s taken us far too long to write an email!
Culture is important as well. Big firms across the pond, and in the UK too, are bringing in napping rooms and power pods to show off their ‘anti-corporate’ approaches in an effort to attract top talent. Tech firms that operate at the cutting edge crave this top talent, and often need them to work longer hours – making a napping space almost a necessity.
Is this something that you’d like to work into your business? Have you got room for a hammock or two? If you are an SME with fewer than 10 members of staff, it may be difficult to lose a quarter of your workforce as they nap in the afternoon. Taking phone calls and having to explain that a colleague is asleep could also raise some eyebrows! But we hope this blog, if nothing else, stresses the importance of sleep and its influence on our daily functions.