In an era where professionals have to do less with more, and also take care of their health, one practice has repeatedly proven to be able to boost productivity – taking afternoon naps in the office.
Fiona Kerr, the neural specialist from the University of Adelaide has advocated professionals take afternoon naps in order to re-charge.
She told the Daily Mail: “There’s really interesting work done on not only taking a nap, but the length of naps. “The best nap is really the 15-30 minute nap. It increases alertness, memory, cognition and mood.”
However, it is important not to have a full blown slumber and extend your snooze to a short nap.
“There is a period of no man’s land for napping, and you can have too much. Between 30 and 60 minutes isn’t good, because your brain thinks it’s heading into REM mode (rapid eye movement sleep).” she warned
When it comes to her advice for beginner nappers, Kerr said practice makes perfect.
“You will get better at it. But at the beginning, try going to a quiet, dark place and cut down as much stimulus as possible. Relax for the 20 minutes and concentrate on your breathing,” she said.
The French is one of the first embrace the idea: Left-wing think tank Terra Nova suggested French businesses should encourage staff to take a 15-20 minute post-lunch snooze, insisting that it boosts productivity.
It said lack of sleep is a serious problem.
In fact, 20% of the nation’s workers nod off in front of their computer anyway, usually after the midday meal, The Telegraph reports.
Dr Jean-Pierre Giordanella, co-author of the Terra Nova report urged employers to train human resources managers on the benefits of a quick nap so they don’t see it as a “laziness perk” or a “reward for idlers” but as a “way of better dividing up the day into phases of activity and rest”.
He suggested factoring a 15-minute nap into the timetable, meaning staff leave work 15 minutes later.
“All that’s needed is a calm room where you can turn off the strip lighting and come out refreshed,” he said. “We realised that this simple practice improves work efficiency and reduces absenteeism. If sleep is not possible, the lack of noise and lighting will still do a power of good,” he said.
However this idea may not be relevant to Hong Kong where people have 50 hour work week, staff are leaving the office 2 hours late on average everyday anyway.