Trying to stay awake throughout the workday can be surprisingly difficult. No matter how hard you try to keep your eyes open, they inevitably start drifting shut as the hours wear on. While indulging in a nap during office hours might seem like a bad idea, it could actually be the best thing for you. According to research, stopping for a 10-minute power nap could be precisely what you need to stay productive for the remainder of the day.
Conducting an experiment
To try and deduce whether or not sleeping through the day is beneficial, researchers conducted a series of experiments. They asked four groups of people to nap for different periods of time, while another group didn’t nap at all. Following these periods of rest – which covered five, ten, twenty, and thirty minutes of sleep – the researchers then examined if the test subjects performed better or not.
What they found
Analyzing the results of their experiments painted a very clear picture for the researchers. They noticed that the people who only napped for five minutes didn’t record much change in their work. However, it was a different story for those that dozed off for ten minutes. Apparently, these subjects displayed an improvement in things like cognitive performance, vigor, and lack of fatigue. What’s more, they were able to maintain some of these benefits for up to two and a half hours.
Although things also improved with those who napped for twenty and thirty minutes, the benefits weren’t as notable. Those in the first group took around half an hour to start displaying positive effects, and these only lasted for roughly two hours. The people in the latter group performed even worse, with their thirty-minute nap leaving them with impaired alertness for a short period of time. When the benefits finally began to kick in, they typically lasted for around two and a half hours.
It’s a struggle
While these findings do indicate that a person’s productivity benefits most from a 10-minute nap, there’s one problem with that. As this is such a short amount of time, it’s hard for people not to oversleep. After all, it can be incredibly tempting to continue napping after you’ve hit the 10-minute mark, especially if you’re running low on energy.
Unfortunately, not only does doing this cut into your work time, but it also leaves you struggling with sleep inertia. You’d probably feel exactly as you did before the nap, only with less time left to get your work done. That’s only going to add more stress to your plate.
Time it right
If you are going to try and nap for 10 minutes every day, it’s essential to do it at the right time. Don’t wait until your energy levels drop late in the day, because you’ll risk disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm. Upsetting this could make it harder to sleep at night, and that will only make things worse for you come the next workday.
You’re best to catch some shut-eye during the late morning, or – at the very latest – the early afternoon. A quick snooze after lunch could be a great way to help you re-energize for the final hours of the day.
While a 10-minute nap might seem too short to be helpful, it could be precisely what you need to keep you going through the day. You’ll never know unless you give it a try, right?