Sunday, April 29, 2012

Could an Afternoon Nap Get You a Raise?

Everyone knows that a good, solid eight hours of sleep is important to stay healthy, but did you know that how much sleep you get could have an effect on your financial well-being, as well? Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that getting adequate sleep every day leads to increased productivity, reduced stress, and even a more positive mental outlook. In fact, it could be said that getting enough sleep could even make you smarter.

So, why is it then, that our culture abhors the afternoon nap? Considered a treat best enjoyed during the weekends or after a big dinner, an afternoon nap of just a few minutes every day could mean the difference between getting that promotion at work and being passed over for someone with just a tad more energy than you can muster. The answer to this question has its roots deep in the industrial revolution, when a few managers and supervisors decided that a ½-hour lunch break was sufficient for employees to leave their station, eat lunch, and then return to their station. In reality, that's about how long it takes to buy and scarf down an afternoon meal. Those 15-minute breaks? Those are products of the movement to ban smoking from the workplace, when smokers began to have to take their cigarettes out of the plant. So, where does that leave today's modern employee?

Unfortunately, many companies still subscribe to the ½ hour lunch rule, believing the marketing hype of coffee and energy drink manufacturers that a quick pick-me-up is all that's needed to return employees to their morning efficiency. More progressive companies, however, have begun to move to a full hour lunch break along with two 15-minute breaks during the day. These companies have left the window open for employees to grab the perfect nap in the middle of the day, and by extension, naturally improve all aspects of their workday functioning.

Experts agree that an afternoon recharging nap doesn't have to be particularly long, and neither do you have to delve into the land of dreams to wake up refreshed. In fact, just a short five minutes of quiet time could make a huge difference in your energy level without the use of those sugary energy drinks that really don't taste all that great and hardly work at all, anyway. The best time to engage in a quick power nap is during your lunch break, so begin by finding a quiet place where you won't be disturbed, such as your car, and set the alarm on your cell phone to wake you just before you're due back to work. The trick is to wake up before you reach a deeper level of sleep. That way, you get the mental and physical benefit of being asleep, without waking up groggy and even more tired.

How long you nap is up to you. Most find the greatest benefit to their productivity if they nap for between 15 and 30 minutes every day, regardless of how well they sleep at night. With this improved productivity, it won't be long before your supervisors take notice, and the next time you're up for a review, don't fail to point out just how much your productivity and energy levels have improved, that you've got the best afternoon attitude in your department, and that you alone don't have to make five trips to the coffee machine to get one project done. It may be the one thing you can do, in fact, to really ensure that your boss realizes just how valuable you are to the company, and will reward you accordingly.

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