Many of us see work a lot different than it did one year ago. That’s a good thing in many ways. (No commute! Sweatpants! Sweatpants! Better Sleep Council is excited to see people taking naps during work. Sleeping during work is now a routine part of our lives, whether it’s an afternoon siesta, or a 15–30-minute power nap.
Power Naps are the new normal
Recently, we surveyed 800 adults working in the United States to determine how the pandemic-induced shift from remote or hybrid work has affected America’s daytime sleep habits and included sleep breaks at work.
- 22 percent of Americans working reported that they take naps during work hours.
- Remote workers (31%), or those working on a combination schedule (29%), are twice as likely to get shut-eye than commuters (13%).
Although some progressive employers like Zappos, Cisco, and Google had pro-napping policies in place before the pandemic hit, more workers are now accepting the idea of daytime napping.
The Workday Benefits of Power Naps
Perhaps being at home gives us the freedom to take a break and get some sleep, without worrying about being judged. Perhaps it’s because there is a comfortable bed nearby that encourages napping. Maybe it’s simply the fact that power naps are a great way to get through the day.
Research shows that catnaps can help maintain or even improve our cognitive performance. They also increase our ability to recall and remember facts from the day. A midday nap can also help to reduce frustration. We all know how frustrating work can be. Respondents to our survey agree.
How long should you nap to feel refreshed?
Our respondents average a 29-minute workday nap. The ideal time for a nap depends on your age and your overall health. However, naps that last more than half an hour can make you feel tired and disrupt your nighttime sleep schedule.
To get the longest catnap, aim for 15-20 minutes. Then consider adding it to your work schedule around 2 p.m. to align with your natural circadian rhythms. You can use a portion of your lunch break to take a siesta in the afternoon. You can also use the time between video calls to take a siesta.
You can make the most out of your time without your phone or laptop by trying to relax and fall asleep quickly. Turn off your phone’s notifications. Meditate. Breathing exercises are a good option. Use a white noise app. Even if your brain doesn’t go to sleep, it will get a quiet break before you return to work. Remember that you are doing this to be your best self – on and offline.