Leap Year Lesson #63: Take a Power Nap Occasionally

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Work-Life Balance
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My Saturday started way too early. With remodelers due at the house around 8:00, I had to forego my usual sleep-in routine and get up by 6:30. Then the day was filled from that moment on with still much more to do as midnight approached. With laptop on lap and eyes growing weary, I succumbed to a brief nap of about 15-20 minutes.

The surprising thing about the nap was not that it took away from my productive time but that I awoke from it with two more blog ideas – one about the value of the nap itself and another about what I dreamed during those few minutes. I’ll save the latter for another day. So the nap, in fact, increased my productivity.

There are cultures that encourage naps in the middle of the work day. They schedule around that expectation and provide the environment for naps. Not so in the U.S.

Have you ever caught a coworker napping at his/her desk? What did you think? What did you do? Maybe you were compassionate and considered that the person may be extremely tired and in need of sleep. Perhaps you thought “What a lazy bum!” and used the experience to reinforce your prior opinion of him/her.

Nobody thinks anything of people taking naps on their days off or when away from work. We know they are usually refreshing, even if the nap is for a few minutes. Why do we not carry the same understanding of the physical need and value of napping at other times?

My most relaxing weeks are those spent in quiet surroundings when I listen to my body and rest when it tells me to rest.

I’m not quite at the point where I’d feel comfortable napping in the middle of the work day around coworkers. I don’t even like to sleep on a long plane flight because I might snore and embarrass myself. However, for those days when I work from home, I’ll be all over a brief power nap if the body calls for it.

Maybe our culture is missing out on a way to achieve better work-life balance. Leap year lesson #63 is Take a power nap occasionally.

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