The U.S. Should Optimize Work Naps
The U.S. is one of a couple of countries that don't prioritize mid-afternoon naps within the workplace. According to the National Sleep Foundation, power naps that are 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness, and performance. Additionally, sleep will leave you without that groggy feeling or interfere with night-time sleep cycles -- but improve performance. John M. Taub with the University of Virginia School of Medicine performed a study that shows that an afternoon 2-hr nap was causal of improved performance and mood. Reaction time significantly increased following a nap in the study, as well as energetic mood.
There's concern that some countries suffer accidental injury or even death due to overwork and a lack of sleep. For example, Japan has a term karoshi that translates to "death by overwork" and has contributed to hotly debated stigmas around working too long. Between 2008 and 2019, people in bustling cities like Tokyo or Kyoto were working 60 hour work weeks and sleeping in the streets. If you compare the U.S. to Japan in terms of annual work hours, the U.S. works roughly the same amount as Japan! It is time for a change, America, and it is time to sleep! Some American companies are already leading the charge as an example change agent concerning sleep, performance, and mental health.
Companies such as internet giant Google and consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble are among the first U.S. companies to see the value in mid-afternoon naps. Both companies recently purchased "EnergyPod" chairs designed by MetroNaps that are specifically made for power naps in an office environment. They have joined in with the 34% of businesses that allow employees to take naps. In addition to their lunch breaks, employees can now take naps to improve individual efficiency. Not only do naps help with efficiency, but they also help with alertness, attention, creativity, productivity, and memory. In a world where the line between work and play can often be blurred, it is crucial to build healthy habits that can lead to improved performance and happiness in the workplace or at home.