Sleeping on the Job: Grabbing Naps During the Workday

The Rise of the Workday Power Nap

“I’m currently away from my desk. I’ll respond to your message as soon as I’m back from my nap. Thank you.”
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Discover the benefits of afternoon power naps and sleeping at work during the day.

For many of us, work looks vastly different than it did a little more than a year ago. In a lot of ways, that’s good. (No commute! Sweatpants! Log in from your patio!) At Better Sleep Council, one of the positive changes we’re excited to see as a result of more Americans working from home is people grabbing naps during the workday. Whether it’s an afternoon siesta or a 15- to 30-minute power nap, sleeping during work has become a regular part of our lives.

Power Naps Are Becoming the New Normal

We recently surveyed 800 working adults to see how the pandemic-induced shift to remote or hybrid work has changed America’s daytime sleep habits to include sleep breaks at work.

  • Nearly a quarter of working Americans (22%) reported they’re taking naps during business hours.
  • Those who work remotely (31%) or on a hybrid schedule (29%) are more than twice as likely to grab shut-eye on company time than those who commute into the office (13%).

While a few progressive employers, like Google, Cisco and Zappos, had adopted pro-napping-at-work policies before the pandemic, it appears as though the flexibility of working from home has allowed more workers to embrace the concept of daytime naps.

Benefits of Power Naps During the Workday

Maybe being at home allows us to step away for some midday zzz’s without fear of being judged. Maybe it’s the lure of having a comfy bed or soft sofa nearby that makes napping more likely. Perhaps it’s the simple fact that we’ve realized the benefits of power naps at work, and how they can help us tackle the rest of the day.

Research has proven that catnaps help us maintain – even improve – our cognitive performance, in addition to boosting our ability to remember and recall facts learned throughout the day. Studies also show that a midday nap can help reduce feelings of frustration. (And we all know how frustrating work can get.) Our survey responders agree.

“87% of those who took a daytime nap reported that they woke from their nap feeling refreshed.”

How Long Should You Nap to Feel Refreshed?

On average, a workday nap lasts 29 minutes for our responders. While the ideal amount of time to nap varies based on your age and overall sleep health, naps lasting much longer than about a half-hour can cause you to feel groggy when you wake up and ultimately disrupt your nighttime sleep routine.

For the best catnap length, target 15-20 minutes as your time goal and consider how you can strategically add it to your work schedule somewhere around 2 p.m. to coincide with your natural circadian rhythms. Try using part of a late lunch break for an afternoon siesta. Or block out that open gap between video calls with an appointment named “important regroup.” (It’s not a lie.)

To make the most of your time away from your phone and laptop, do your best to relax so you can fall asleep quickly. Put alerts on mute. Meditate. Use breathing exercises. Fire up a white noise app. Even if you don’t fall asleep, your brain will have a nice, quiet break to reset before you get back to the grind. And, finally, remind yourself that you’re doing all of this so you can be the best version of you – both on and off the clock.

Learn how sleeping on the job can be a beneficial way to boost your productivity during the workday from experts @BetterSleepOrg.

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This blog provides general information about sleep and sleep products. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. This blog should not be construed as medical advice or used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, then he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other healthcare professional. This blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health or the health of others. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or elsewhere on bettersleep.org. If you think you may have a medical emergency, then immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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