Lunchtime snooze: Despite its benefits, napping at work remains taboo

  • Living
  • Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

Despite its benefits, napping is still not seen as an acceptable activity in the workplace. — 123rf

WHILE many of us feel good about indulging in a little nap on the weekend or while we’re on vacation, having a snooze in the workplace remains frowned upon. However, it’s not a rare phenomenon: many employees admit to taking regular naps during office hours, a recent American survey reveals.

A third of the 1,250 full-time employees surveyed by the Sleep Doctor platform say they take a nap every week during working hours. The idea of dozing off for a few minutes after lunch or in the middle of the afternoon, before working intensively for the rest of the day, is particularly appealing.

There’s even greater temptation when employees are working from home, far from the disapproving eyes of colleagues and superiors. So it’s hardly surprising that remote workers are more likely than their on-site colleagues to take a nap during their office hours.

The average nap lasts around 60 minutes, compared with less than 15 minutes for on-site employees.

Some employee demographics are more likely than others to snooze during their time at work. For example, 52% of men interviewed for the survey said they occasionally snooze at work, compared with only 38% of women. More 18-34 year-olds take a nap during the working day than their older colleagues.

Numerous benefits

There are several reasons why workers take micro-naps between tasks. The first is lack of sleep. Most working people “nap” to make up for their sleep debt, or to store up energy for the rest of their working day. Americans call these restorative naps “power naps,” an expression coined by Harvard researchers.

However, not all employees who nap during office hours are doing so to improve efficiency. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed indulge in a siesta as a reaction to the stress they feel in their daily work lives, while 11% do so out of boredom.

Napping is not just for people who don’t get enough sleep at night. Daytime rest has been shown to improve memory and concentration. It also boosts the immune system, reduces stress levels and improves mood. So it would be a shame to be deprived of its many benefits because of what people might think.

Nevertheless, while the virtues of napping are well established, the activity is still taboo in the workplace. Some companies have set up nap rooms so that their employees can recharge their batteries in good conditions, but they remain in the minority.

The vast majority of employees doze off in makeshift sleeping spaces, trying to be as discreet as possible.

And that makes sense because many managers take a dim view of their employees taking a few minutes’ rest. But they rarely punish them for doing so. Only 20% of those questioned by the Sleep Doctor platform had been punished for taking a nap during their working hours. Of these, 24% had been suspended and 17% fired. – AFP Relaxnews

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