The Better Sleep Council, through a stress and sleep survey, found that 65% of Americans are losing sleep due to stress. And a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that over 80% of American adults link inadequate sleep with impaired daytime performance. That's a sobering, though not surprising, set of statistics. How many of us have had those days when you just can't concentrate on the job or you feel like you're going to fall face down into your keyboard?
A desire for restful sleep has driven many people to try varied relaxation solutions like meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. That's all fine and good if it works for you, but I think I have found a better, less costly solution. I am advocating workday naps.
Historically, in the US, it has been frowned upon to curl up on your desk and take a little siesta in the middle of the workday. I think that's unfair, and here's why: For the first four or five years of our lives, naps are drilled into us like the need for food and water. It's ironic, isn't it? You're probably at your energy peak at age four—running around playing hide and seek, twirling on the jungle gym, or, in the case of my son, giving the dog a peanut butter bath—when all of a sudden, you're plunked down in your bed, mid-spazz, and told to take a nap. What a buzz killer!
Then, after you've grown up, when you need rest the most, it's just taken away. When you're an adult, with responsibilities that could most often affect others (Help Desk technician, computer programmer, weird blog writer), people don't appreciate it if you curl up under your cubicle and cop some Z's. And that's just not fair.
So let's band together and advocate for a designated work naptime. Just keep in mind these three rules:
1. No teddy bears, no blankies, and no other sleep accoutrements that could bring your sanity into question.
2. No sleepwear. The last thing anyone wants to see is you curled up in your footed Batman pajamas.
3. No snoring, and no Sleep Apnea machines. (Sorry for the Catch-22, but we need the quiet.)
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.