If youjust stay awake long enough to read this post, I’ll give you the rationale you need to catch 40 winks. Right now. Napping is taboo – even if you work from home, much less if you’re in your office.

Oddly enough, Don Draper and his pals on Mad Men napped – or passed out as the case may have been – at will. Their offices had couches and their secretaries protected them. And of course, police, doctors and others who serve time on call, sack out as needed. I can just hear Eliott telling Olivia on Law & Order SVU, “Hit the crib for a while. You’re working this case too hard.” But has anyone at work ever told you to nap?

According to the the National Sleep Foundation, “a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. Nappers are in good company: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush are known to have valued an afternoon nap.”

In a poll, the NSF reports that napping is stigmatized:

  • as a sign of laziness
  • showing a lack of ambition, and low standards.
  • and the belittling belief that napping is only for children, the sick and the elderly.

A 2002 Harvard University study showed that workers’ performance deteriorated in the afternoons without naps.  In the study, workers were supposed to memorize  patterns on their computer screens and then replicate them in a test, four times a day.

“But allowing subjects to take a 30-minute nap after the second session prevented further deterioration and a one-hour nap actually boosted performance in the third and fourt
h sessions, the study found.” You can read more @http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/WaterCooler/story?id=124677 

So quiet the judgey voice in your head that says you’re not allowed to nap – even for thirty minutes – and go stretch out.  You’ll be more alert, more engaged, and more creative. The work you do in the afternoons won’t need to be done over.

How to nap at work? Easy-peasy.  Get yourself a nap pod. When I first started “permitting” myself to nap, I noticed I overate less – i wasn’t trying to pump up energy with a Snickers fix. I also noticed as soon as i clearly could nap whenever I needed to, I napped less frequently, and for shorter periods of time. I used to judge people who napped, and thought what a waste of time! And now i see it makes its own time.