Monday, February 12, 2007

The power of the nap

A recent study done watching twenty-three thousand adult Greeks for six years has yielded some interesting results. The results that they discovered? Napping during the week can significantly reduce stress levels, and possibly even lessen the chances of heart failure. Of course, this has already led to employees insisting that they aren't actually asleep at work, but that they are resting their heart. High school students are using a similar tactic, while college students gleefully embrace a nap-centric culture.

While many cultures have incorporated midday breaks to rest for a very long time, these cultures were generally found in warmer climates, where the break was almost necessary. After all, who would, or even could, continue working through the hottest part of the day in a time where air conditioning didn't exist? The midday breaks just became a part of the tradition for many of those cultures.

This recent study could actually encourage more empoyers to embrace the concept of on-the-job naps. The naps need only be as long as a half-hour for there to be an effect, and, for a little bit of time to catch some sleep in the middle of the day, employers may find more refreshed and invigorated employees.

Of course, being a member of the caffeine culture, it seems a little counterintuitive. Sure, naps are great, but wasn't coffee discovered as a way to keep us pushing ourselves beyond the breaking point, just to stay awake? Didn't we discover that there were ways to incorporate caffeine in even more ways in our daily lives, just to stave off sleep for a few more precious minutes?

Although, the more that we here at the CSM think about the concept of naps, the more we realize that plenty of people will need a little afternoon pick-me-up to help get them back on track after their nap is over. While they will take the nap to help their hearts and lower their stress, they'll return to caffeine in the long run, to manage the rest of their day and propel them through the long hours. Perhaps, if this idea takes root, new employees will be greeted with a coffee mug and a pillow on their first day of work, the better to take advantage of both their nap-time, and their caffeine fix.

And, if there's someone who's had too much coffee to take their nap, you could stream episodes of Yes, Dear or Everwood into their cubicles. If either one of those don't fix that temporary insomnia, nothing will.

No comments: