Power Naps: Negative perception to a positive habit


Power Naps: Negative perception to a positive habit' title=

A power nap is a short sleep which terminates before the occurrence of deep sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS). It is intended to quickly revitalize the subject and is thought to maximize the benefits of sleep versus time. It is used to supplement normal sleep, especially when a sleeper has accumulated a sleep deficit.

Above is the definition of a power nap and its benefit as per Wikipedia. It kinda sounds pretty logical and is something that most of us have experienced at many points in time. A simple shut-eye for 10-15 minutes when you need it the most goes a long way in revitalizing you for a couple of hours and is much more productive than a coffee break. Therefore given these facts it should be pretty normal to have a power-nap when you feel like one, isn’t it.

Not really, turns out that a power-nap or any kind of nap is viewed in a negative way by most people, specially those who hold good full-time jobs. This was something we learned after researching and mining for sentiments on facebook and twitter.

While the above shows an actual facebook conversation showcasing the normal perception of a power nap, tweeps on twitter reacted in different ways. Some of them were offended when asked the question “Please comment on what do you think about a power nap. Do you think it should be more widely accepted ?“. Responses ranged from “I don’t take naps at work, how dare you ask me a question like that” to more friendlier responses (such as the one below) which came from tweeps who understood the context better.

It was also interesting to see that a number of students regularly used power naps to revitalize themselves after classes when they had to prepare for long study sessions.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps” states:

Naps are a powerful source of competitive advantage. The recent evidence is overwhelming: naps are not just physically restorative, but also improve perceptual skills, motor skills, reaction time and alertness

The article goes on to say that there are very few organizations that encourage this practice.

Napping won’t begin to take hold in companies until leaders recognize that it’s not the number of hours people work that determines the value they create, but rather the energy they’re capable of bringing to whatever hours they work.

If encouraging employees to take a half hour nap means they can be two or three times as productive over the subsequent three hours late in the day — and far more emotionally resilient — the value is crystal clear. It’s a win-win and a great investment.

The problem is that most corporate cultures remain addicted to the draining ethic of more, bigger, faster. Rest, by this paradigm, is for slackers. Until your employer sees through that myth, consider to take matters into your own hands“, says Tony Schwartz in his write up.

We for one definitely agree with this concept and the fact that managers should open up their brains a little and understand that there is nothing wrong in dozing off for a bit at work as long as the work gets done on time.

Google is one of the few companies that understands this and see what their employees get:

Surely, you wish to be in the same position.


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