Seven reasons to tell your boss you need a nap

By Marilynn McLachlan

There's nothing like grumpy co-workers as the mid-afternoon blues hit. Thankfully, a nap can help to boost mood. Photo / Thinkstock
There's nothing like grumpy co-workers as the mid-afternoon blues hit. Thankfully, a nap can help to boost mood. Photo / Thinkstock

Many of the world's greatest minds, including Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, were all proponents of napping. Now it's becoming much harder to feel rested with the ongoing urgency of modern day living.

However, sleep research is finding increased amounts of evidence that napping during the day has wide-spread health and productivity benefits.

Here are seven reasons to tell your boss you need a nap:

1. Napping restores alertness

A study conducted by NASA on military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved physiological alertness by 100 percent.

2. Napping prevents burnout

In a culture of information overload, taking a daytime nap is similar rebooting a computer. It relieves stress and a study at Harvard University showed that a midday snooze reverses information overload.

3. It's a biological imperative

According to sleep researchers, the human body is meant to have an afternoon nap. William Dement, director of the Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center at Stanford University says, "It seems nature definitely intended that adults should nap in the middle of the day, perhaps to get out of the midday sun." Many countries around the world enjoy a midday siesta.

4. It improves energy

The Huffington Post acknowledges that workers are inundated with emails due to modern technology and are often expected to work around the clock - and that this may lead to exhaustion and burnout. To ensure this doesn't happen to the staff, Arianna Huffington, the president of the Huffington Post, has two nap rooms that staff are free to use for one hour at a time. "Ultimately, at work, the most important thing is our energy. It's not exactly how many hours we are sitting at our desks, but how present we are when we're there," she says.

5. Napping boosts performance

In a study at the University of Berkeley, volunteers took part in learning tests to extend the brain. They were divided into two groups and one was allowed a 90-minute nap at 2pm, while the other stayed awake. They both participated in subsequent tests at 6pm. Those who had a nap actually improved their capacity to learn.

6. Napping boosts creativity

New research shows that the mental spark that sometimes occurs while we nap may be due to the right hemisphere of the brain - the creative side - being active during naps, while the left hemisphere was relatively still. Study author, Andrein Medvedev speculates that the right brain is performing essential "housecleaning" tasks during a nap, consolidating information, enabling creative solutions to evolve.

7. Napping leads to improved mood

There's nothing like grumpy co-workers as the mid-afternoon blues hit. Thankfully, a nap can help to boost mood. The neurotransmitter serotonin regulates mood, sleep and appetite. When the body is stressed, higher levels are used and production is blocked - resulting in anxiety, irritability and depression. According to Dr Sandra C Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, "napping bathes your brain in serotonin, reversing those effects and creating a more positive outlook."

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 22 Dec 2014 06:38:29 Processing Time: 685ms