Today is Sleep Day: Take power nap and feel refreshed
Everyone knows how annoying it is to feel drowsy during work. The half-asleep state that neither lets us work peacefully nor get some good rest. After drowsing for a while, we will naturally slip into deep sleep and get into trouble. Drinking a cup of coffee or tea, washing face with cold water and similar tricks are usually tried to stay awake and work. But these don’t work properly most of the time. We will start feeling sleepy again in a few minutes.
This is when we should think of power nap. The word is too familiar for all, but very few might have tried it and experienced its benefits. The Cambridge Dictionary has defined power nap as a short sleep taken during the working day in order to restore one's mental alertness. Experts opine that power nap can help a person have a quick round of sleep and wake up with more energy.
According to a report of the American Psychological Association (APA), the people who were subjected to study on sleep reacted positively to the power nap. When they were asked to memorise certain pieces of information, they could easily do it without much effort.
In the business sector also, power nap was proved to have a positive impact. When the staff can have a little break for nap during the hectic day, it can improve their performance rather than when they are compelled to continue work despite feeling drowsy.
In Indian culture, however, working overtime and work-life imbalance are treated as positive indicators of diligence and the concept of power nap is deeply despised. Napping during study or work hours is considered as laziness and lack of productivity.
Students getting punished for drowsing in classrooms is a common sight in schools and colleges. So is the case with employees getting insulted for working with sleepy eyes. While disdaining these practices, we never apply the power nap strategy to tackle the problem.
When a person feels drowsy during work, it can damage his/her performance and memory. A team of neuropsychologists at Saarland University conducted a study on the performance of people after taking a power nap. The subjects were divided into two groups and one of them watched movies and the other group had a nap. Later, a memory recall test was conducted in which the former performed poorer than the latter. This indicated that nap boosts brain functions.
Due to the hectic lifestyle and work environment these days, many people are deprived of quality sleep. They are unable to get enough sleep at night and this results in drowsiness in the morning. Power nap can be helpful for such people to refresh their brain. Institutions can try introducing power nap break for the students and employees. This interval need not be taken as a waste of time because it can offer several advantages.
The professionals like software engineers and designers opine that a nap break is very important during work as they need a great amount of concentration and creativity. One would feel unfocused and less creative after a few hours of continuous work. If we get a few minutes nap at this point, it can give a little more energy to work better. Thinking process becomes clearer after taking some rest, they suggested.
The duration of nap should be limited so that the nap would not turn into deep sleep and give the opposite results. According to studies, 10-30 minutes can be the ideal duration for power nap. Sleeping for more than 30 minutes can make the person feel more sleepy and tired instead of refreshing. Incessant working and sleep deprivation sometimes leads to headache, migraine, eyesight issues and the like and this can be resolved to an extent through nap.
Many multinational companies like Google, Facebook, Nike, Uber, Cisco and PwC have allowed their employees to have a nap during work hours. Taking into account the benefits of power nap, the local firms also can implement the same. Also they can highlight nap break as a proof for workplace efficiency. If the break taken for power napping can provide better output and is mutually beneficial, then the companies should not wait for implementing it.
In our country, overtime working is overrated and it spreads the misconception that sleep can be sacrificed at the cost of one's health. The truth is sleep deprivation and lack of rest deteriorate one’s health and adversely affect the performance in academics and career. The initial aversion to the concept of power nap will vanish slowly as people experience its benefits. So, the idea of power nap should be promoted and implemented positively.