Looking for a way to get more done with your day?
It might sound counterintuitive, but try taking a nap.
The key to being a productive person might be taking a quick snooze, suggests new research.
A study of 2,000 Americans examined their napping preferences and their personality traits.
They found that those who identified as nappers were also more likely to identify as productive people.
They were also likely to be happier and more confident – 90% of nappers said they were happy versus 79% of non-nappers, while 89% of nappers said they were confident versus 79% of those who don’t take naps.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mattress Nerd, also suggests that napping makes a difference to your career ambitions, as three-quarters of nappers described themselves as career driven, while only 55% of non-nappers said the same.
‘Napping is no longer a sign of laziness, but it’s another tool we can use to make us more productive in life,’ said a spokesperson for Mattress Nerd.
This is a pretty small survey and not a scientific study, so loads more research needs to be done to properly examine the relationship between napping and career success.
There are a whole host of reasons why there may be a relationship.
Perhaps people who work early hours in high-pressure jobs are more likely to need an afternoon nap. Maybe those who find the time to nap have lower stress levels and end up liking their work more.
We do know, though, that sleep is pretty important to every part of our lives.
If we’re not getting solid chunks of good quality sleep every night, regular naps may help to ease the fatigue, posing a whole load of benefits for the workplace and beyond.
James Wilson, the sleep behaviour expert behind Sleep Well, Work Well, says: ‘Sleep is the basis on which our physical health and emotional wellbeing is built upon.
‘In the workplace it helps us stay more focused, helps us be more productive, reduces sick days, and leads to a more calm and content workforce.
‘Research from the University of Rotterdam in March 2017 found that even one night of poor sleep can lead to employees displaying unwanted behaviour at work, such as taking longer breaks or losing their temper with colleagues.’
Sleep expert and therapist Christabel Majendie tells us that a nap can improve our focus, which would in turn boost our productivity.
‘If you are feeling sleepy at work, a short nap at work could be beneficial as it will lead to improved alertness which will impact on your performance and memory,’ she explains.
We know that a good nap can lower blood pressure and that napping may make you more creative.
But it’s important to note that napping cannot and should not replace a proper night of uninterrupted sleep.
‘Too many organisations and even some sleep experts use [naps] as a easy one size fits all, prescriptive solution,’ says James. ‘Naps do not cure poor sleep and in fact in many cases they make poor sleep worse.
‘A nap is a solution to sleep deprivation, which can be caused by many different type of sleep disorder from Sleep Apnoea, Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome or Parasomnias.
‘It is far better to address the underlying condition and have better sleep at night then just try to address the symptom of sleep deprivation through a nap.
‘A nap will not replace night time sleep. At night we go through usual sleep cycles and have sleep at different stages of that cycle. Most naps do not include REM Sleep and Deep Sleep the two most important stages of the sleep cycle.’
If you want to boost your productivity, prioritise your night’s sleep first. But do feel validated in your choice to take an afternoon nap, too. It’s good for you.
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