When the clock hits 12, darkness begins wrapping the place and people vanish one… by one… by one…
Nah. It’s not some horror story.
My work’s office has an unusual lunch break culture. Instead of the usual break time, most employees start going to the pantry or outside to eat lunch at around 11:30am, then go back to their workstations afterward to take care of some personal stuff. Then once the lights go off at exactly 12nn, they take their naps, which they do either by resting their heads on their desks with their arms as pillows or by lying on the back of their chairs, then when the lights are turned on at exactly 1pm, they wake up all ready to face their works.
When I was new in the company, I found this everyday habit completely awesome on the part of the employers since they allow total relaxation for their employees. But as months passed, I realized that it is not only for the benefit of the latter but also of the former. It is a two-way street after all.
Napping has a lot of advantages especially for workers and employers, whom all the jobs are being done for. Wondering what I mean? You better read on:
1. It makes us more alert
It’s official from a NASA research: Napping, though it’s not as long as sleeping, boosts alertness by 100%. Another study also shows that a nap as a break makes a person more alert and active compared to before the rest happened.
2. It promotes faster learning and better memory
Need to pay attention to your work? Taking a nap before attacking that hard task has an amazing result of helping you focus and keeping your memory working properly.
3. It helps avoid suffering from information overload
If you’re piled up with a lot of tasks, never do the mistake of not getting some nap. According to studies, failing to rest leads to decrease of productivity. So it’s better to take a short nap to have your mind refreshed.
4. It gets your creativity and senses going
A scientist in the name of Sara C. Mednick revealed it: Taking a nap is as good as a good night sleep when it comes to sensory perception. It also boosts creativity as it untangles the knots in overlapping ideas and binds the related ones at the same time.
5. It is good for the health
Lack of sleep is never good as it increases the cortisol hormone in the body. Cortisol is not bad, as it helps us deal with stress, but an excess of it leads to glucose intolerance and abdominal fat, it undermines muscular and immune systems, blocks memory and learning, and reduces levels of growth hormone and testosterone in the body, which can all cause diabetes and heart attack. Tsktsk. There’s just too much that can happen to our health if we don’t take that short, sweet nap.
6. It improves our mood
I have proved this numerous times. I am often so groggy and irritated in the morning, but after napping during lunch break, I am already feeling okay, I laugh, smile, and am very much ready for the rest of the day.
Well, that is because of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that handles our moods, sleep, and appetite. But during lack of sleep or stressing moments, the body uses more serotonin and it also stops producing it. The aftermath, then, is that we are caught in a bad mood.
7. It is budget friendly
Which is better, paying for something or getting it absolutely free? I am almost sure that everyone would choose the latter. If we get a cup of coffee, we spend for it, while decreasing our memory’s performance, but if we just take a nap, we get to energize ourselves not just for free, but also in a natural way! Isn’t way better? 🙂
Taking a nap is not just like that, though. Follow these simple napping tips from Dr Mednick for a more effective one:
1. Stick to a regular schedule
Ideal napping time is from 1pm to 3pm, but for people like me whose only break is from 12nn to 1pm, I get to sleep only within that time. I think it’s okay, as long as I stick to that schedule.
2. Naps should be quick
When we take a nap, we do it quickly, otherwise, it may already be called a sleep. The ideal duration is 30 minutes or less so make sure to set your alarm. In my case, I start resting my head at 12:30pm, so when it is 1pm and the lights are on, I wake up.
3. Do it in the dark
The reason is simple: It helps us fall asleep faster. If you can’t turn off the lights in your office, you can opt to wear an eye mask.
4. Be in a warm place
Our body temperature drops when we sleep, so Dr Mednick advised this or at least bring and use a blanket. But if you’re living in a tropical country like the Philippines, this is a bad idea, otherwise, you’ll wake up drenched in sweat.
I always say that when it is lunch break, I really take a break. And people should really give me a break. So for that precious hour, I toss away my work load and relax, either by eating outside the office or taking a nap right after munching my lunch in the pantry. I especially do the latter when I know that I will be needing that extra energy to work my mind for my current task.
You should take a nap, too, during your lunch break even though your office doesn’t have the same culture as ours. It’ll help you big time in finishing a quality assignment or two. Well, of course, it’ll not only benefit you, but the company you’re working for as well. 😉