Napping at work is not allowed in many organisations and yet tired or fatigued employees can have a significant effect in the workplace, reducing both safety and productivity.
What is a Power Nap?
A power nap is a short sleep that ends before you go into deep sleep (slow-wave sleep; SWS); it is intended to quickly revitalize the worker which is helpful where tired workers are at risk if they make a mistake.
Three Key Benefits of Power Napping
There are many benefits of power napping and studies have shown napping to be quite beneficial, improving alertness and performance.
Organisations who sanction this well researched counter measure do so because they understand it can:
- Restore alertness, memory and problem solving – especially during night shift
- Improve performance and productivity
- Reduce the risk of fatigue related accidents and incidents
How Long to Nap?
A Flinders University study found that a 5-minute nap produced few benefits, but the 20-minute nap was associated with improvements emerging 35 minutes after napping and lasting up to 125 minutes after napping and the 30-minute nap produced a period of impaired alertness and performance immediately after napping, indicative of sleep inertia, followed by improvements lasting up to 155 minutes after the nap.
Some companies have nap rooms to allow employees to take power naps. This may be in a form of a nap room with a recliner, or chairs specially designed for power napping installed in a designated area. Companies with nap rooms often say that employees are happier and become more productive at work.
What is a NASA Nap?
The NASA Ames Fatigue Countermeasures Group studied the effects of sleep loss and jet lag, and recommends a 40-minute nap (“NASA nap”) because this amount of time showed some improvements in flight crew performance.
What is a Coffee Nap?
Drinking coffee just before a power nap sounds like a crazy idea however there are physiological reasons that make it perfect sense. This is because caffeine doesn’t kick in immediately. It generally takes between 20 and 45 minutes to start to take effect. So if you drink a cup just before your power nap, you’ll likely feel more alert when you wake up.
“Shiftwork Services has trained hundreds of shiftworkers to power nap taking safety, performance and operational requirements into consideration.” Fiona Johnston – Occupational therapist.
Shiftwork Services Recommendations about Napping at Work:
- Consider the role of napping as an effective way to reduce fatigue risk
- Include napping guidelines in your organisation’s fatigue policy
- Provide training about napping at work especially for night workers and those in safety critical tasks.
To learn more about how to nap at work contact us with the words ‘Napping at Work’ in the subject line. For a fatigue policy template email us with the words ‘Fatigue Policy Template’ in the subject line.