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How to Get Your Boss to Allow a Mid-Day Nap

Posted By Mark Sisson On February 17, 2009 @ 10:03 am In Health,How To,Sleep,Stress | 27 Comments

No matter how closely we follow the Primal Blueprint [7], dips in energy are bound to hit from time to time. Last week, I identified a bunch of tricks for getting yourself out of the hazy afternoon slump [8]. The most popular – and most elusive, I’d imagine – was the afternoon power nap. There’s nothing like taking a quick one to restore energy, but sleeping on the job simply isn’t feasible for a lot of the work force. If you work outside or share a tiny cubicle with a couple other people, we can’t help you. But if it’s your boss giving you grief about a little naptime, there are ways around that.

No, I’m not talking about sneaking in surreptitious naps. I’m talking about standing up to conventional wisdom with cold hard scientific facts corroborated by real results – the MDA way. If your boss has a strict no-napping policy (which is actually pretty common), he or she is probably unaware of the loads of studies linking afternoon power naps with increased productivity, better cognitive function and memory retention, and lower stress levels [9]. Your boss is probably concerned about wasted time on the clock and increasing productivity – and rightfully so. An incredible amount of time is wasted everyday in the office, and productivity doesn’t always match up with the hours spent in office. You have to help your boss realize that a 20-minute nap during the day won’t contribute to the lack of productivity; if anything, it will improve things.

Present this, a quick list of irrefutable, properly conducted studies exhibiting the efficacy of napping as healthy and good for productivity:

Having trouble recovering from a business trip several time zones away? Napping has been shown to help stave off jet lag [10].

Finding it difficult to concentrate at work? Perhaps a 20-minute nap will improve your [11] “subjective sleepiness, performance level, and self-confidence.”

Excelling at your job is about your ability to learn new things and retain memories. What if a sleep-deficit could hamper your ability to learn? What if a quick nap was enough to make up for it? [12]

Are rising health care costs a concern for your employer? Maybe you should mention that an afternoon nap is good for the heart [13] – especially for working people – and reduces the need for doctor’s visits.

What if a 26 minute nap could boost performance by 34% [14]?!

Of course, simply producing studies means nothing without tangible results. If your boss relents and gives you, say, a week of naps, make sure you work your rear off to prove that napping is viable and helpful. Double your productivity if you can. Take notes of your progress so you can present an especially solid case at week’s end.

If your boss doesn’t notice any difference, present your findings (and don’t forget to mention that your napping won’t be a daily ritual – only as needed). No boss can argue with real results.

Congratulations. You’ve just successfully negotiated naptime into your workday.

Now, this won’t work with every boss, or in every office. Some people just won’t listen to reason and will always regard napping as slothful (maybe it’s our Puritan roots), and some offices simply don’t have the proper infrastructure for naps (although you could always sneak off to your car). I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I assure you that citing lab studies and increasing actual productivity is your best shot at getting naptime privileges.

Oh, and don’t go much longer than 20 minutes. Once you hit the 45 minute mark, you’re venturing into deep sleep, which is much harder to wake up from and will leave you even groggier than before. Besides, 20 minutes is easier to sell to your boss.

Good luck!

Further Reading:

How to Avoid Jet Lag [15]

When It Comes to Sleep, Average is Best [16]

The Spanish Have it Right with Their Siestas [17]


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[2] Primal Blueprint 101: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/?utm_source=mda_wwsgd&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=mda_wwsgd_pb_101

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[7] Primal Blueprint: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-is-the-primal-blueprint/

[8] getting yourself out of the hazy afternoon slump: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/afternoon-slump/

[9] lower stress levels: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/sensible-vices-round-3/

[10] Napping has been shown to help stave off jet lag: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19147377?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

[11] Perhaps a 20-minute nap will improve your: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=10210616&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus

[12] What if a quick nap was enough to make up for it?: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17293859&ordinalpos=20&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

[13] an afternoon nap is good for the heart: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6354855.stm

[14] 26 minute nap could boost performance by 34%: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/onCall/story?id=2831235

[15] How to Avoid Jet Lag: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/jet-lag/

[16] When It Comes to Sleep, Average is Best: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/sleep-weight-gain/

[17] The Spanish Have it Right with Their Siestas: http://public-healthcare-issues.suite101.com/article.cfm/siesta_spanish_healthy_tradition

[18] PrimalCon Oxnard 2014: http://www.primalblueprint.com/product/PrimalCon_Oxnard_2014/Events

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