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Your Boss Should Let You Nap at Work, and Here’s Why

Topics: Work Culture

If you’re scanning Twitter for the #NationalNappingDay hashtag and scowling enviously at anyone whose employer offers a space-age nap pod or even just a dedicated room for the occasional snooze, take heart. While we can’t promise you that your boss will care, the good news is that science is on your side when it comes to the benefits of napping.

nap at work

(Photo Credit: LetTheCardsFall/Flickr)

Should you catch your manager in a sympathetic mood, and feel like making a case for napping privileges at your company, these are the facts to lean on:

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1. Creative workers are only good for about six hours.

Studies show that knowledge workers – a.k.a. those of you who are sneakily reading this on a work computer right now – are only productive for about six hours a day. After that, they’re essentially just holding down a chair. That’s a primary reason why some Swedish companies and cities have tried six-hour workdays in recent years. However, the U.S. isn’t Sweden, and your company probably won’t agree to pay you for eight hours and let you leave at 3 p.m. A nap might be the second-best way to recharge your batteries and get back to work.

2. Naps really do boost energy.

“You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,” says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, in an interview with WebMD. “You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.”

Mednick says a short nap is better than a cup of coffee for boosting memory and worker accuracy, because wired folks tend to make mistakes. Nap for half an hour to an hour, she says, and you boost decision-making skills, while longer naps that include REM sleep help you solve creative problems.

Some experts caution, however, that sleeping longer than 10 to 30 minutes can lead to grogginess, and a shorter nap will probably be an easier sell with the boss.

3. More naps might equal fewer sick days.

Napping does more than just make workers more alert and productive; it also has real health benefits. One study showed that napping can help prevent death from heart disease, while another seemed to indicate that napping might offset the effects of sleep deprivation on the immune system.

In short, getting catching a few Zzz’s at the office might help you make it to work every day, even during cold and flu season, and keep you healthier while you’re there.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you take a job for benefits like the right to nap at work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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HGcassidyGetbacktowork!wllmjuniorJohn Recent comment authors
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As a narcoleptic who has been plagued my entire career over this issue, the irony is somewhat lost on me. One has no idea how few and far between (virtually non-existent) employers are that would buy into this science. Though I have no doubt as to its validity and benefits to an organization, most managers will see it as goofing off or a waste of time and money. As far as most “managers” and “leaders” are concerned one would be… Read more »


Nice article. Best way to negotiate it in my experience has been taking a nap during lunch hours, for those who might apply. Being working for a Japanese company for over a decade was never an issue, actually it was kind of supported and encouraged (dim lights down, reduced noise, etc. Even some people will pull out pillows!). Now that I am working for an American company it has work well for me and my direct reports, they can do… Read more »


Yes, agree with this. Have had benefit of working from home for many years so napping not much of an issue and will often, not always, catch a 45min to 60 min nap in afternoon, if I have lots of work to finish, I am recharged and could work till late evening no problem and I am not ready to sleep again till around 11pm, up at 6:00 am.


BRB going to take a nap.


Yes HG, in Japan, office workers spend up to 100 hours a week at the office. They nap at work, on the way to work and on the way home – the trains are (fairly) silent so people could rest from their long day at the office – it has become a part of their daily routine. In the ‘west’ with its 38 – 40 work week we don’t need to nap. We start at 8, have lunch at 12-1… Read more »

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